See also: guineapig and guinea-pig

EnglishEdit

 
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guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus)

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

The origin of "guinea" in "guinea pig" is hard to explain. One theory is that the animals were brought to Europe by way of Guinea, leading people to think they had originated there.[1] "Guinea" was also frequently used in English to refer generally to any far-off, unknown country, and so the name may simply be a colorful reference to the animal's foreignness.[2] Others believe "guinea" may be an alteration of the word coney (rabbit); guinea pigs were referred to as "pig coneys" in Edward Topsell's 1607 treatise on quadrupeds.[1]

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɪni pɪɡ/
  • (file)

NounEdit

guinea pig (plural guinea pigs)

  1. A tailless rodent of the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia, with short ears and larger than a hamster; the species Cavia porcellus is often kept as a pet.
    Synonym: cavy (formal name)
  2. A rodent of any of several species within the family Caviidae.
  3. (figuratively) A living experimental subject.
    Synonym: lab rat
    He became a human guinea pig and was paid by the company.
    • 1970, Larry Niven, Ringworld, page 115:
      [H]e spoke of the unwisdom of volunteering one's services as a guinea pig.
  4. (dated, slang) A professional company director, without time or real qualifications for the duties.
  5. (obsolete) Term of contempt.

Derived termsEdit

DescendantsEdit

  • Sranan Tongo: dyinipi

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Wagner, Joseph E.; Manning, Patrick J (1976) The Biology of the Guinea Pig, Academic Press, →ISBN
  2. ^ “Results for "Guinea pig"”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], Dictionary.com, accessed 2006-08-29