Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An African ruminant mammal (Giraffa camelopardalis) having a very long neck and legs, a tan coat with orange-brown to black blotches, and short horns. It is the tallest land animal, often reaching a height of 5 meters (16 1/2 feet), and feeds principally by browsing in the tree canopy of wooded grasslands.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ruminant, of the genus Giraffa, of the African savannah with long legs and highly elongated neck, which make it the tallest living animal; yellow fur patterned with dark spots, often in the form of a network; and two or more short, skin-covered horns.
  • n. A laugh.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An African ruminant (Giraffa camelopardalis formerly Camelopardalis giraffa) related to the deers and antelopes, but placed in a family (Giraffidae) by itself; the camelopard. It is the tallest of quadriped animals, being sometimes twenty feet from the hoofs to the top of the head. Its neck is very long, and its fore legs are much longer than its hind legs. There are three types, having different patterns of spots on the pelt and different territories: the Reticulated Giraffe, the Masai Giraffe, and the Uganda Giraffe. Intermediate crosses are also observed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The camelopard, Giraffa camelopardalis or Camelopardalis giraffa, a ruminant animal inhabiting various parts of Africa, and constituting the only species of its genus and family.
  • n. [capitalized] The constellation Camelopardalis.
  • n. In mining, a car of peculiar construction, used in the mines on the Comstock lode, to run on the inclines.
  • n. A kind of upright spinet, used toward the end of the eighteenth century.
  • n. Same as giraffe-fever.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. tallest living quadruped; having a spotted coat and small horns and very long neck and legs; of savannahs of tropical Africa

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French girafe, from Italian giraffa, from Arabic dialectal zirāfa, probably of African origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French giraffe (now girafe), from Arabic زرافة (zarāfah), from Somali Geri, from Classical Syriac ܙܵܪܝܼܦܵܐ (zarāfa). (Can we verify(+) this etymology?)

Examples

Comments

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  • Usage at the link posted on qwertial aphasia.

    July 21, 2009

  • See also cameleopard, an archaic name for the animal we know (and I love) as "giraffe." For the origins of this name (so much better than cameleopard), the OED sez:

    "Ultimately ad. Arab. zarfah, whence also It. giraffa, Sp. and Pg. girafa, F. girafe; earlier adoptions of the word are found in OF. as giras (pl.), orafle and giraffle, in ME. as GERFAUNT, ORAFLE; also OSp. azorafa. The forms used by English writers have varied at different periods according to their immediate sources. The It. form giraffa was common in the 16-17th c., but some writers of 17th c. use giraff, app. following Gesner. The modern giraffe is from F., though the spelling in that language is now girafe. Jarraff and ziraph (17th c.) are independent adoptions from Arab. or some other oriental language."

    I vote that giraffle be used to describe giraffe-shaped waffles.

    August 25, 2008