vi·​cu·​ña | \ vi-ˈkün-yə How to pronounce vicuña (audio) , vī-; vī-ˈkü-nə How to pronounce vicuña (audio) , və-, -ˈkyü- \
variants: or vicuna

Definition of vicuña

1 : a long-necked mammal (Vicugna vicugna synonym Lama vicugna) of the Andes from Peru to Argentina that is related to but somewhat smaller than the guanaco, has a light brown woolly coat that is paler below, is considered to the be ancestor of the alpaca, and has been historically hunted for its wool and meat
2a : the wool from the vicuña's fine lustrous undercoat
b : a fabric made of vicuña wool also : a sheep's wool imitation of this

Illustration of vicuña

Illustration of vicuña

vicuña 1

Examples of vicuña in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Large herds of camel-type animals called vicunas and guanacos, as well as foxes, pumas, and funky types of birds still thrive at 14,000 to 15,000 feet above sea level—but only this wee mouse can scale the whole volcano and live to tell the tale. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, 31 Mar. 2020 They are not committed to a two-season cycle, private planes and yachts, sable and vicuna. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vicuña.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of vicuña

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vicuña

Spanish vicuña, from Quechua wik'uña

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The first known use of vicuña was in 1604

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Cite this Entry

“Vicuña.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for vicuña


variants: or vicuna \ vi-​ˈkün-​yə , vī-​ˈkü-​nə \

Kids Definition of vicuña

: an animal of the Andes that is related to the llama and has long soft woolly hair


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