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

  • noun Any of several piglike hoofed mammals of the family Tayassuidae, found in North, Central, and South America and having stiff bristles and short, straight tusks.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A kind of swine indigenous to America, belonging to the family Dicotylidæ and the genus Dicotyles. See the technical words.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) A pachyderm of the genus Dicotyles.

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

  • noun Any of the family Tayassuidae of mammals from the Americas related to pigs and hippos

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

  • noun nocturnal gregarious pig-like wild animals of North America and South America


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

[Ultimately from Carib pakira.]


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  • Even-toed ungulate, a kind of sinful pig. An individual peccary will confront a predator, risking its own life, to allow the rest of the group to escape. (a scape-pig, perhaps?)

    October 17, 2007

  • Interesting, sionnach. My first thought was that the word derived from the same root as that of peccadillo--sinful, sinning, etc. I figured that made sense, thinking of the Biblical driving of evil spirits into pigs. But it turns out the roots aren't related at all--at least not as near as I can figure.

    October 17, 2007

  • naw, I'm pretty sure the sin connection is entirely spurious. I was just joshin' (gadarene swine notwithstanding).

    October 17, 2007

  • I figured as much--but I couldn't resist checking. ;-)

    October 18, 2007