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

  • noun A large, chiefly aquatic African herbivorous mammal (Hippopotamus amphibius) having thick, dark, almost hairless skin, short legs with four toes, and a broad, wide-mouthed muzzle.
  • noun The pygmy hippopotamus.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An omnivorous ungulate pachydermatous mammal of the genus Hippopotamus or family Hippopotamidæ.
  • noun [capitalized] [NL.] The typical genus of Hippopotamidæ, characterized by the presence of only four lower incisors. H. amphibius is the only living species.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) A large, amphibious, herbivorous mammal (Hippopotamus amphibius), common in the rivers of tropical Africa. It is allied to the hogs, and has a very thick, naked skin, a thick and square head, a very large muzzle, small eyes and ears, thick and heavy body, and short legs. It is supposed to be the behemoth of the Bible. Called also zeekoe, and river horse. A smaller species (Hippopotamus Liberiencis) inhabits Western Africa.

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

  • noun A large, semi-aquatic, herbivorous (plant-eating) African mammal (Hippopotamus amphibius) that spends most of the day living in water, but comes on to land at night to feed. Of all living land animals, only the rhinoceros and elephant are larger.

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

  • noun massive thick-skinned herbivorous animal living in or around rivers of tropical Africa


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

[Latin, from Greek hippopotamos : hippos, horse; see ekwo- in Indo-European roots + potamos, river; see pet- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin and New Latin hippopotamus, from Ancient Greek ἱπποπόταμος (hippopotamos), from ἵππος (hippos, "horse") (English hippo-) + ποταμός (potamos, "river").


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  • Kirsten Anderson says that this baby pygmy hippopotamus is "ridiculously cute."

    Boing Boing 2008

  • Q: What do you call a hippopotamus who rides a train?

    Making Light: Open thread 137 2010

  • What we call a hippopotamus — “river horse” — the Germans call “Flusspferd,” which literally means “river horse.”

    The Volokh Conspiracy » “Misused”: 2007

  • The name hippopotamus was mentioned at least twenty times in the lecture as a dramatic climax.

    Watch Yourself Go By Ben W. [Illustrator] Warden

  • [Page 105] up where the tall rushes wave, twisted together by the twining morning-glory vines; far up where the alligators make great nests in the river-bank, and lay their eggs and stretch themselves in the sunshine, half asleep inside their scaly armor; far up where the hippopotamus is standing in his drowsy dream on the bottom of the river, with the water covering him, head and all.

    The Seven Little Sisters Who Live on the Round Ball That Floats in the Air 1888

  • When the Greeks first saw a huge animal in Egypt, they called it hippopotamus, the Greek word for ` water horse. '

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XV No 2 1984

  • "The word hippopotamus is familiar to you -- and even to small children -- because it has often been used, and because you have seen circus pictures of it.

    The Boy Ranchers at Spur Creek or Fighting the Sheep Herders Willard F. Baker

  • The hippopotamus is the familiar of Hapi, the goddess of the Nile.

    River God Smith, Wilbur, 1933- 1993

  • As the flesh of the hippopotamus, which is said to resemble pork in flavor, was much desired as food by the soldiers under Baker's charge, he had a small explosive shell constructed, which, fired into the creature's brain, seldom failed to leave its huge body floating dead on the surface of the river.

    Harper's Young People, March 16, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly Various

  • He was called a hippopotamus, and he swam in a tank of water, next door to a pool in which lived some mud turtles and alligators.

    Bunny Brown and His Sister Sue at Aunt Lu's City Home Laura Lee Hope


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  • This is dedicated to chained_hippo.

    Hippopotamust ... have ...

    April 25, 2008

  • Hhaha!

    April 25, 2008