agou·​ti | \ ə-ˈgü-tē How to pronounce agouti (audio) \

Definition of agouti

1 : any of a genus (Dasyprocta) of tropical American rodents about the size of a rabbit
2 : a grizzled color of fur resulting from the barring of each hair in several alternate dark and light bands

Illustration of agouti

Illustration of agouti

agouti 1

Examples of agouti in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One key souvenir from that mating: a jackrabbit version of agouti, the gene that normally revs up its activity and turns snowshoe fur white in the winter, the researchers report today in Science. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "How the snowshoe hare is losing its white winter coat," 21 June 2018 That spring, a non-flying vulture used a gust of wind to make it out of its enclosure at the Zoo, and in July 2015, a squirrel-like agouti ducked out of its cage before being caught less than 30 minutes later. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, "Ollie the Bobcat Is Back at the Zoo and Off the Streets of Washington, D.C.," 30 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agouti.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of agouti

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for agouti

borrowed from Middle French, borrowed from Tupi akutí

Note: The form (with voiced stop) and spelling depend on French, where the word first appeared in the 16th-century reports of Brazil ("France Antarctique"): in André de Thevet's Les singularitez de la France antarctique, 1558 (agoutin) and Jean de Léry's Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du Bresil, 1578 (agouti); agouti was taken up in the next century by Georg Marcgrave and Willem Piso (Historia naturalis Brasiliae, 1648) and in the 18th century by Linnaeus.

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The first known use of agouti was in 1598

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Cite this Entry

“Agouti.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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agou·​ti | \ ə-ˈgüt-ē How to pronounce agouti (audio) \

Medical Definition of agouti

1 : a rodent of the genus Dasyprocta (especially D. leporina)
2 : a grizzled color of fur resulting from the barring of each hair in several alternate dark and light bands

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