See also: guineapig and guinea-pig

English edit

English Wikipedia has an article on:
guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus)

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

The origin of "guinea" in "guinea pig" is uncertain. One theory is that the animals, which are originally from South America, 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]

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɪni pɪɡ/
  • (file)

Noun edit

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: (formal name) cavy
  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.
    • 2008 October, Davy Rothbart, “How I caught up with dad”, in Men's Health, volume 23, number 8, →ISSN, page 112:
      My dad told me about his days in the Navy: He'd agreed to be a guinea pig in exchange for a shorter enlistment. They kept him awake for a week straight.
  4. (dated, slang) A professional company director, without time or real qualifications for the duties.
  5. (nautical, obsolete) A midshipman in the East India service; (by extension) a low-skilled or non-proficient seaman.
    • 1748, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random[2], page 183:
      A good seaman he is... none of your guinea-pigs.
    • 1779, Macintosh, Travels, quoted in Carey, Old Days, i. 73
      I promise you, to me it was no slight penance to be exposed during the whole voyage to the half sneering, satirical looks of the mates and guinea-pigs.

Derived terms edit

Descendants edit

  • Sranan Tongo: dyinipi

Translations edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Wagner, Joseph E., Manning, Patrick J (1976) The Biology of the Guinea Pig, Academic Press, →ISBN
  2. ^ “Guinea pig definition and meaning”, in Collins Dictionary[1], Harper Collins, 2023 August 31 (last accessed)