Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large semiaquatic rodent (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) of tropical South America, having short limbs and a vestigial tail and often attaining lengths of more than 1.2 meters (4 feet).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See capibara.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A large South American rodent (Hydrochærus capybara) Living on the margins of lakes and rivers. It is the largest extant rodent, being about three feet long, and half that in height. It somewhat resembles the Guinea pig, to which it is related; -- called also cabiai and water hog.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The largest living rodent (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), native to South America, living partly on land and partly in water.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun pig-sized tailless South American amphibious rodent with partly webbed feet; largest living rodent

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Portuguese capybara, from Tupí capivara, capibara : capii, grass + urara, eater.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Tupi. One possible derivation is from ka'apiûara ("slender leaf (grass) eater"), from kaá ("leaf") + píi ("slender") + ú ("eat") + ara (agentive suffix).

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