[zee-bruh; British also zeb-ruh]
- any of several horselike African mammals of the genus Equus, each species having a characteristic pattern of black or dark-brown stripes on a whitish background: all zebra species are threatened or endangered.
- Also called zebra butterfly. a tropical butterfly, Heliconius charithonius, having black wings barred with yellow.
- (initial capital letter) a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter Z.
- Football Slang. an official, who usually wears a black and white striped shirt.
- zebra crossing.
Origin of zebra
1590–1600; 1975–80 for def 4; < Portuguese zebra, zebro the Iberian wild ass (Spanish cebra), perhaps < Latin equiferus (Pliny) kind of wild horse, equivalent to equi- (combining form of equus horse) + ferus wild
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for zebra
Blanco also says that, like Zebra Katz, Le1f is about to experience a crossover.Too Gay for Hip-Hop? Le1f Takes On Traditionally Homophobic Genre
August 10, 2012
With those legs and that zebra microdress, Michaele might be able to cobble together a second act.Michaele Salahi, Movin’ On Up
September 16, 2011
When the Beltway Republican establishment does not defend her, Bannon uses video of a zebra being eaten by hungry lions.Sarah Palin's Movie Makeover in The Undefeated
June 5, 2011
I particularly liked his zebra skin rug, and the pool table laden with finger food to soak up all the alcohol.Stalking the Literary Lion
March 20, 2011
This creature looks as large as an elephant and as wild as a zebra.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
The first attempt was made upon the zebra, and was successful.Freeland
A wild ass or zebra would be too tame for you, wouldn't he, eh sir?Barnaby Rudge
"Say rather an ass, shaved and painted to resemble a zebra," muttered John.Homeward Bound
James Fenimore Cooper
This is the zebra, the wild horse of the great plains of Southern Africa.
- any of several mammals of the horse family (Equidae), such as Equus burchelli (the common zebra), of southern and eastern Africa, having distinctive black-and-white striped hides
C16: via Italian from Old Spanish: wild ass, probably from Vulgar Latin eciferus (unattested) wild horse, from Latin equiferus, from equus horse + ferus wild
- a noninterest-paying bond in which the accrued income is taxed annually rather than on redemptionCompare zero (def. 12)
C20: from zero-coupon bond
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for zebra
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper