Definition of tapir
: any of a genus (Tapirus) of herbivorous chiefly nocturnal perissodactyl mammals of tropical America and southeastern Asia from Myanmar to Sumatra that have a heavy sparsely hairy body and the snout and upper lip prolonged into a short flexible proboscis
Recent Examples of tapir from the Web
From this face extended a fleshy protuberance, similar to a mini elephant trunk or a tapir’s proboscis.
Macrauchenia now belongs to a sister group of Perissodactyla, which includes horses, rhinos and tapirs.
Malayan tapirs, native to the East Indies, may also make their way to Sacramento.
The baby lemur is the newest addition to the zoo, which also has celebrated the recent high-profile births of Umi the tapir, Dobby the giraffe, Miso-Chi the fishing cat and Scarlet the fluffy gray kea chick.
This might explain why Shuitangba seems to have mammals different from those found elsewhere, including apes and tapirs that had vanished from other places.
Incomplete fossils had led paleontologists to suspect Rusingoryx had some kind of tapir-like proboscis, but the new skulls showed that the mammal instead had a high nasal dome in front of its eyes.
This mosaic was home to varied assemblage of giant armadillos, camels, ground sloths, dire wolves, tapirs, and mammoths, but the cast of smaller animals would have looked more familiar.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tapir.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of tapir
Portuguese tapir, tapira, from Tupi tapiʔíra
First Known Use: 1774See Words from the same year
TAPIR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tapir for English Language Learners
: an animal that is like a pig with a long nose and short legs and that lives in tropical America and Southeast Asia
TAPIR Defined for Kids
Definition of tapir for Students
: a large hoofed plant-eating animal of tropical America and southeastern Asia that has short thick legs, a short tail, and a long flexible snout
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