gua·​na·​co gwə-ˈnä-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce guanaco (audio)
plural guanacos also guanaco
: a long-necked South American mammal (Lama guanicoe) of dry, open country that has a soft, thick fawn-colored coat, is related to the camel but lacks a dorsal hump, and is considered to be the ancestor of the domesticated llama compare alpaca, llama

Illustration of guanaco

Illustration of guanaco

Examples of guanaco in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ancient people also painted human silhouettes and faces, as well as animal silhouettes, featuring large flightless birds called rheas and guanacos, close relatives of llamas. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Feb. 2024 On the trek, guests will also stop in at a small alpaca farm and weaving center to learn the differences between llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas, and get to watch women use traditional methods to dye dyeing wool and weave the wool. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 31 Aug. 2023 Gutiérrez Alvarado and the other rangers recently counted 83 guanacos living in the park. Zack Savitsky, Quanta Magazine, 12 July 2023 The guanaco, for example, relies on sips of water that is trapped by mosses clinging to cacti, which grow in soil fertilized by grit crust. Zack Savitsky, Quanta Magazine, 12 July 2023 Once hunted for their wool, guanacos are now protected by law. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 7 June 2023 What to Do Travelers flock to Patagonia to experience the otherworldly beauty of Torres del Paine National Park and spot Patagonia’s wildlife, including the Big Five: pumas, llama-like guanacos, South Andean deer known as huemul, Andean condors, and the ostrich-like rhea (or ñandú). Nora Walsh, Travel + Leisure, 5 June 2023 Populating the ridge and surrounding slopes are herds of gazellelike creatures called guanacos; viscachas, marmotlike rodents with rabbity ears; burros; and hawks. Dennis Overbye Marcos Zegers, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 During a stroll around the lodge, visitors can expect to spot iconic species like the puma, the llama-like guanaco, and even the Andean condor, the largest extant bird of prey—but there’s a lot more to encounter across the property than just wildlife. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'guanaco.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, from Quechua wanaku

First Known Use

1604, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of guanaco was in 1604

Dictionary Entries Near guanaco

Cite this Entry

“Guanaco.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


gua·​na·​co gwə-ˈnäk-ō How to pronounce guanaco (audio)
plural guanacos
: a South American mammal that has a soft thick light grayish brown coat and is related to the camels but lacks a hump

More from Merriam-Webster on guanaco

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