oka·​pi | \ ō-ˈkä-pē How to pronounce okapi (audio) \

Definition of okapi

: an African ungulate mammal (Okapia johnstoni) that is closely related to the giraffe but has a relatively short neck, a coat typically of solid reddish chestnut on the trunk, yellowish white on the cheeks, and purplish-black and cream rings on the upper parts of the legs

Illustration of okapi

Illustration of okapi

Examples of okapi in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Behavior and reproduction Active during the day, the elusive okapi prefers to be alone. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 2 Mar. 2020 Included on the tour is an okapi, black rhino, hippo, African wild dog, Masai Giraffe, African elephant, lion, warthog and white rhino — which Katelyn says is her favorite. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "WATCH: Disney Cast Member Adorably Recreates Kilimanjaro Safari Ride at Home Amid Park Closures," 6 Apr. 2020 The okapi is the giraffe’s closest living relative. National Geographic, "Unique anatomy sets giraffe apart in the animal kingdom," 20 Sep. 2019 Scientists first became aware of the okapi, which has a long tongue and legs proportioned like those of a giraffe, at the turn of the 20th century. National Geographic, "Unique anatomy sets giraffe apart in the animal kingdom," 20 Sep. 2019 Meghan the baby okapi was born at a London zoo in December after a 30-minute labor. Felice León, The Root, "Watch: There’s a New Meghan in Town ... and She’s an Animal," 18 Jan. 2018 In fact, their endangered status is part of the reason why (okapi) Meghan got her name. Evelyn Wang, Teen Vogue, "The Zoological Society of London Named Their New Okapi After Meghan Markle," 18 Jan. 2018 Its silhouette is also quite different, with the nine-foot tall creature resembling a moose with a long neck or an okapi, the other member of the giraffid family that’s alive today. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Four-Horned Giraffe Ancestor Unearthed in Spain," 3 Nov. 2017 The study also indicates that our remaining giraffids, the giraffe and the okapi, are actually pretty far apart in evolutionary terms reports Weintraub. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Four-Horned Giraffe Ancestor Unearthed in Spain," 3 Nov. 2017

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

1900, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for okapi

Mvuba (language spoken west of Lake Edward, Democratic Republic of the Congo)

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The first known use of okapi was in 1900

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Cite this Entry

“Okapi.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/okapi. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for okapi


oka·​pi | \ ō-ˈkä-pē How to pronounce okapi (audio) \

Kids Definition of okapi

: an animal of the African forests related to the giraffe

More from Merriam-Webster on okapi

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with okapi

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about okapi

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