chu·​pa·​cab·​ra | \ ˌchü-pə-ˈkä-brə How to pronounce chupacabra (audio) , -ˈka- \
variants: or Chupacabra
plural chupacabras or Chupacabras

Definition of chupacabra

: a grotesque creature that drinks the blood of livestock and is reported to exist in North and South America In 2004 some Texans sent samples of what they were convinced was a chupacabra—a legendary hairless beast that drains the blood of its prey.— Amanda Bower Davis, Time, 30 Jan. 2006 Some swear the creature is actually a vampire—resembling a large rat, but with horns and fangs … In any case, the Chupacabra … reportedly drains the blood of cows, sheep, and goats throughout the republic, leaving an unusually shaped wound.— Diana Reiss-Koncar, Vibe, April 1997

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First Known Use of chupacabra

1995, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chupacabra

borrowed from American Spanish chupacabra, chupacabras, from Spanish chupa, 3rd person singular present tense of chupar “to suck” (probably of imitative origin) + cabra “goat” (cabras, plural)

Note: Perhaps originally a calque on Latin caprimulgus, English goatsucker, and numerous other vernacular names for birds of the nightjar family. The corresponding Spanish name for the bird is not chupacabras, but rather chotacabras, in which chota is perhaps a now obsolete verb for “suck” (cf. choto “kid, suckling goat”).

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The first known use of chupacabra was in 1995

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Cite this Entry

“Chupacabra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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