ta·​pir | \ ˈtā-pər also ˈtā-ˌpir or tə-ˈpir How to pronounce tapir (audio) \
plural tapirs also tapir

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

Illustration of tapir

Illustration of tapir

Examples of tapir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Herpetologists described the tapir frog after following its beep-beep-beep call through the jungles of the Putumayo Basin at night. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Lingering just out of sight will be Baird’s tapir, an animal that’s related to rhinoceros and sports a proboscis similar to that of an elephant. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Apr. 2022 His room morphs into a rainforest filled with coatimundis, capybaras, a jaguar, and tapir, plus hummingbirds and toucans (including Pico). Christopher Baker, Travel + Leisure, 7 Jan. 2022 In this biodiverse national park, home to some of Central America's only remaining old-growth wet forests, wildlife sightings can include the Baird's tapir, jaguars, sloths, and macaws. Stephanie Vermillion, Travel + Leisure, 14 Dec. 2021 Telling the uplifting story of a feisty young woman fighting for her homeland in the Amazon rainforest, abetted by Dillo, an armadillo, and Vaca, an oversized tapir, this is a highly theatrical proposition. John Hopewell, Variety, 30 Nov. 2021 Based on the size of the skull, the rhino had a long thick neck, a deeper nasal cavity, and a short trunk similar to that of a modern-day tapir, reports the BBC. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2021 Meanwhile, 20 other zoos have joined the hashtag herd, with #ZooGlamourShots that include Lola the baby chimpanzee from the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and Baku the tapir from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Apr. 2021 AmaZOOnico, one of the biggest rescue centers in Ecuador, has several animals seeking adopters, including Polen, a young ocelot; Biala and Solana, a pair of scarlet macaws; and Poppy, a tapir. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of tapir

1774, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tapir

Portuguese tapir, tapira, from Tupi tapiʔíra

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Last Updated

28 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tapir.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tapir. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tapir


ta·​pir | \ ˈtā-pər How to pronounce tapir (audio) \

Kids Definition of tapir

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on tapir

Nglish: Translation of tapir for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tapir


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