nu·​tria ˈnü-trē-ə How to pronounce nutria (audio)
: the durable usually light brown fur of a nutria
: a large South American semiaquatic rodent (Myocastor coypus) with webbed hind feet and a round nearly hairless tail that has been introduced into parts of Europe, Asia, and North America

Examples of nutria in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In addition to canines that are family pets, the parasite can also latch on to raccoons, marsh rabbits, dogs, horses, nutria, bobcats, mountain lions, opossums, and other mammals. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 19 Mar. 2024 Read more→ Shown in coast $335 at Away Shown in scout tan $395 at Paravel Thule Aion Carry-On Spinner Wheeled Luggage Shown in nutria $350 at Thule $350 $262 at REI Weekenders Our favorite duffels, expandable totes, and garment bags to take on overnighters or use as a personal item. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 25 Sep. 2023 And as with the smaller S-series Saturns, the plastic body panels are attached with lots of room to expand in the heat, meaning that in the winter a nutria (see glossary) could practically squeeze through the door gaps. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 15 July 2023 Even with 1,500 nutria no longer breeding and eating in south Plaquemines, Hogue-Manuel said the rodeo’s body count doesn’t make a lasting dent in the state’s ever-growing nutria population. Chron, 7 Mar. 2021 When the fur trade collapsed in the 1940s, thousands of nutrias got loose or were set free. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2023 In Yanagihara’s dark vision of the future, our descendants will be stuck at home cooking dog, horse, and raccoon, in addition to nutria meat, tofu, and tempeh. Rebecca Panovka, Harper's Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 Owning a nutria hasn’t been free of challenges. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2023 The nutria, or coypu (Myocastor coypus), is a semi-aquatic rodent native to South America. Marisa Sloan, Discover Magazine, 15 Oct. 2021

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

Word History


borrowed from American Spanish, from Spanish, "otter," altered (with n of uncertain origin) from Latin lutra — more at otter

Note: Joan Coromines (Diccionario crítico etimológico castellano e hispánico, 1981) suggests that Greek énydris "otter" may have been the source of the n in nutria; he notes dialectal forms such as lóndriga that maintain l.

First Known Use

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nutria was in 1811

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Cite this Entry

“Nutria.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


nu·​tria ˈn(y)ü-trē-ə How to pronounce nutria (audio)
: a South American rodent that lives in or near water, has webbed feet and a nearly hairless tail, and has been introduced into the U.S. along the Gulf Coast and in the Pacific Northwest

called also coypu

More from Merriam-Webster on nutria

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