kin·​ka·​jou ˈkiŋ-kə-ˌjü How to pronounce kinkajou (audio)
: a nocturnal arboreal omnivorous mammal (Potos flavus) found from Mexico to South America that is related to the raccoon and has a long prehensile tail, large eyes, and yellowish brown fur

Illustration of kinkajou

Illustration of kinkajou

Examples of kinkajou in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Vivo, an adorable rapping kinkajou living in Havana as one half of a street-performing act. Meg Walters,, 28 July 2022 And so Andres tasks the kinkajou with delivering an important package. Andy Meek, BGR, 14 Aug. 2021 At the time, officers were unable to determine where the kinkajou came from and whether it had been owned by anyone. Joelle Goldstein,, 19 Aug. 2019 The previous night, the man who was bitten saw the kinkajou sitting on a fence outside and had left it some watermelon to eat. Albert Pefley,, 17 Aug. 2019 As Litersky headed out for work, the kinkajou -- which evidently had been camping out in front of the home all night -- slipped inside, according to the commission. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 20 Aug. 2019 The kinkajou bit the 37-year-old man’s foot and scratched his leg but didn't seriously injure him, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report obtained by Fox News. Fox News, 20 Aug. 2019 The kinkajou was corralled into a bathroom until Florida Wildlife officials were able to arrive, CBS 12 reported. Richard Tribou,, 19 Aug. 2019 Hike through a dense green woodland dotted with bubbling mud pots, and keep an eye out for exotic and rare wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, emerald toucanets, and the curious kinkajou. National Geographic, 17 June 2019

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

Word History


French, alteration of quincajou wolverine, of Algonquian origin; akin to Ojibwa kwi·nkwaʔa·ke· wolverine

First Known Use

1799, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of kinkajou was in 1799

Dictionary Entries Near kinkajou

Cite this Entry

“Kinkajou.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


kin·​ka·​jou ˈkiŋ-kə-ˌjü How to pronounce kinkajou (audio)
: a slender long-tailed mammal of Central and South America that is related to the raccoon, is active at night, lives in trees, and has large eyes and soft woolly yellowish brown fur

More from Merriam-Webster on kinkajou

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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