- (Of a springbok or other antelope) Leap in the air with an arched back and stiff legs, typically as a form of display or when threatened.
“The herd of springboks froze at the sound of thunder, then began pronking to the edge of the field.”
“The finale closed with dancers pronking in lines across the stage.”
“My kids and their friends are in the backyard, skipping and pronking in the rain.”
Why this word?
The springbok is an antelope species found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa, and the verb “to pronk” describes its distinctive stiff-legged leap. In Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa, the word means literally “to show off.” The language traces back to Dutch, in which “pronken” means “to strut.” In English, “pronk” can be used to describe an antelope, or it can be used more figuratively — to describe a dancer’s elegant leap across the stage, for example.
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