hy·​rax | \ˈhī-ˌraks \

Definition of hyrax 

: any of a family (Procaviidae) of small ungulate mammals of Africa and the Middle East characterized by thickset body with short legs and ears and rudimentary tail, feet with soft pads and broad nails, and teeth of which the molars resemble those of the rhinoceros and the incisors those of rodents

called also coney, dassie

Illustration of hyrax

Illustration of hyrax

Examples of hyrax in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The largest sea lions are twice as big as the largest bears, for example, and manatees outweigh their cat-size hyrax cousins by nearly 500 kilograms. Angus Chen, Science | AAAS, "Sea mammals are huge for a reason," 26 Mar. 2018 Besides giraffes, the African exhibit will include a lion, hyrax, wildebeest and tortoise. The Associated Press, The Seattle Times, "Young giraffe dies at Pennsylvania zoo after neck injury," 29 May 2017 Ilany studies the rock hyrax, an African rodent-like mammal that isn’t monogamous but whose sexes look the same. National Geographic, "How Can You Tell a Female Animal From a Male?," 20 Feb. 2016 To figure out who's who around hyraxes, use your ears: Males sing to attract females, while females don't sing at all. National Geographic, "How Can You Tell a Female Animal From a Male?," 20 Feb. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hyrax.' 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 hyrax

1832, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hyrax

Greek hyrak-, hyrax shrew

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The first known use of hyrax was in 1832

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playful or foolish behavior

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