chin·​chil·​la | \ chin-ˈchi-lə How to pronounce chinchilla (audio) \

Definition of chinchilla

1 : either of two small South American rodents (Chinchilla laniger and C. brevicaudata of the family Chinchillidae) of the high Andes that are the size of large squirrels, have very soft pearly-gray fur, and are extensively bred in captivity also : the fur of a chinchilla
2 : a heavy twilled woolen coating

Illustration of chinchilla

Illustration of chinchilla

Examples of chinchilla in a Sentence

The collar of the coat is chinchilla.
Recent Examples on the Web Nothing the staff normally used — Dawn dish soap, chinchilla dust, chemical solvents — could get it off. Karina Bland, azcentral, "With more people outdoors, wildlife center sees an influx of rescued animals," 5 June 2020 In addition to the traditional hamsters and fish, teachers now are caring for things like chinchillas, rats, skinks, chicks, hissing cockroaches and, of course, snakes. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "Teachers open their homes to classroom pets during shutdown," 7 May 2020 There are the African sulcata tortoise and the bearded dragon, the chinchillas and the rabbits and the hedgehog; the horse and the heifers, the chickens and ducks, and the mama goats about to kid. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With videos, phone calls and food deliveries, Milwaukee Public Schools teachers stay connected with families during shutdown," 27 Mar. 2020 When that falls through, the bills stop getting paid, and Allison is forced to become the first farmhand in the South Downs to own a chinchilla coat. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Nest': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 27 Jan. 2020 Watching a chinchilla bath is totally worth it though. Jo Yurcaba, Woman's Day, "What to Know About Having a Chinchilla Pet," 23 Oct. 2019 Researchers have now seen evidence of hidden hearing loss in dead mice, guinea pigs, rats, chinchillas, and nonhuman primates. Popular Science, "Hidden hearing loss is hitting people of all ages. Neuroscientists are still debating why.," 21 Jan. 2020 The apartment is home to two parrots, a duck, a chicken, a quail, a rabbit, guinea pigs, two iguanas and a chinchilla. NBC News, "Las Vegas bird rescuer still searching for pigeons wearing cowboy hats," 18 Jan. 2020 According to a news release, the animals rescued on Wednesday, Dec. 11, included a corn snake, a Tokay gecko, two chinchillas and three hedgehogs in addition to 26 fish. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County Precinct 5 deputies remove exotic pets from abandoned apartment," 18 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of chinchilla

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chinchilla


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Time Traveler for chinchilla

Time Traveler

The first known use of chinchilla was in 1604

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Last Updated

10 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chinchilla.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce chinchilla (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chinchilla

: a small South American animal that has soft gray fur
: the fur of a chinchilla


chin·​chil·​la | \ chin-ˈchi-lə How to pronounce chinchilla (audio) \

Kids Definition of chinchilla

: a South American animal that is a rodent resembling a squirrel and is often raised for its soft silvery gray fur

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