cap·​y·​bara | \ ˌka-pi-ˈber-ə How to pronounce capybara (audio) , -ˈba-rə, -ˈbär-ə How to pronounce capybara (audio) \

Definition of capybara

: a tailless semiaquatic South and Central American rodent (Hydrochaerus hydrochaeris) often exceeding four feet (1.2 meters) in length

Illustration of capybara

Illustration of capybara

Examples of capybara in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Explore the outdoors Wildlife can be easily experienced in the Botanical Garden, home to an immense diversity of plants and animals like toucans, capuchin monkeys, capybaras, and tanagers. National Geographic, "See Rio like a Nat Geo Explorer," 11 Mar. 2019 Don and the other tapirs share space with two South American natives; capybaras, huge rodents, and guanacos, wild relatives of llamas. Bradley J. Fikes,, "For the Fourth, bring out the (San Diego Zoo) babies!," 3 July 2018 Months after that, the cubs will start hunting for themselves, practicing on capybaras and other live prey. Elaina Zachos, National Geographic, "These Are the First Jaguars Born in This Argentinian Wetland in Over a Century," 11 June 2018 Cavies are closely related to capybaras, the world's largest rodent, weighing up to 100 pounds. Jennifer Larino,, "What's a cavy? You can now see 3 of them at the Audubon Zoo," 22 May 2018 This area will feature jaguars, monkeys, giant river otters, capybaras, birds and tapirs. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "$150 million campaign announced for Houston Zoo," 9 Apr. 2018 Phil is usually wrong and the Cincinnati Zoo's capybara went the other way. Cheryl Vari,, "Cincinnati weather: What caused the surprise, school-closing snow in NKY?," 1 Feb. 2018 While Cossatot is far from a groundhog — capybaras, native to South America, are the world's largest rodent — his prediction already may hold a little more validity than Phil's. Mallorie Sullivan,, "Forget Punxsutawney Phil. Meet the Cincinnati Zoo’s weather-predicting rodent, Cossatot.," 2 Feb. 2018 Plump capybaras, another potential jaguar meal, are faster than expected. Jacqueline Cutler, USA TODAY, "'Jaguar vs. crocodile': Two predators fight to the death," 12 Dec. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of capybara

1774, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for capybara

Portuguese capibara, capivara, alteration of capiiuara, from Tupi kapiʔiwara, from kapíʔi grass, brush + -wara eater

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about capybara

Dictionary Entries near capybara

caput mortuum

Cap Vert






Statistics for capybara

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capybara

The first known use of capybara was in 1774

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on capybara

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with capybara Encyclopedia article about capybara

Comments on capybara

What made you want to look up capybara? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!