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Nondefinition #7

Obnoxious. Adj. Persistently or incorrigibly annoying after the manner of an obnox. The obnox (from German oppnochs) is an extinct species of Bovidae. Obnoxen were quite small (the size of a small pony or large dog), and had horns which pointed, neither to the sides like modern cows, nor forwards like the aurochs, but backwards. Some scientists speculate that obnoxen originally evolved to live in tropical swamps: their size made them efficient radiators of heat, and their horns were well-adapted for backscratching and fly-swatting; but by the beginning of history they were only found in Europe. Furthermore, obnoxen were congenitally afflicted with bad eyesight. Accordingly, the defensive strategy of the obnox was an unusual one. Rather than violently charging, the obnox who detected a violation of his territory (that is, once he had been struck) emitted a series of alternating low and high-pitched moos to summon any other obnoxen in the area. It should be noted that this gathering would take some time – the soft feet of the obnox, well adapted to muddy marshes, limited them to extremely slow speeds on dry ground. Once assembled, the obnoxen would surround the intruder and begin the counterattack. As they were small, incapable of sure footing, and weaponless – even their teeth were incurved and could not take hold – the attack was limited to a soft, repeated, mass nudging, carried on in absolute silence and accompanied by a relentless cow-eyed stare. By all accounts, no animal, however fierce, having been once been attacked by obnoxen, would ever go near them again. Indeed, the original use of the word oppnochsisch was to describe, not likeness to the animals’ behavior, but the glassy stares and melancholy reveries that victims of obnox attacks were thereafter wont to fall into. The obnox was systematically exterminated during the wars of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries – for the appearance of a herd of obnoxen in the midst of a battle was known to set even the most hardened warriors to flight.