[ chin-chil-uh ]
/ tʃɪnˈtʃɪl ə /


a small, South American rodent, Chinchilla laniger, raised for its soft, silvery gray fur: now rare in the wild.
the fur of this animal.
something, as a coat or jacket, made of chinchilla fur: a floor-length chinchilla.
a thick, napped, woolen fabric for coats.

Nearby words

  1. chinbone,
  2. chincapin,
  3. chinch,
  4. chinch bug,
  5. chincherinchee,
  6. chinchow,
  7. chinchy,
  8. chincoteague,
  9. chincoteague pony,
  10. chindia

Origin of chinchilla

1595–1605; < Spanish, perhaps, equivalent to chinche chinch + -illa < Latin -illa diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chinchilla

British Dictionary definitions for chinchilla


/ (tʃɪnˈtʃɪlə) /


a small gregarious hystricomorph rodent, Chinchilla laniger, inhabiting mountainous regions of South America: family Chinchillidae. It has a stocky body and is bred in captivity for its soft silvery grey fur
the highly valued fur of this animal
mountain chinchilla or mountain viscacha any of several long-tailed rodents of the genus Lagidium, having coarse poor quality fur
a breed of rabbit with soft silver-grey fur
a thick napped woollen cloth used for coats

Word Origin for chinchilla

C17: from Spanish, perhaps from Aymara

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 chinchilla



small South American rodent, 1590s, from Spanish, literally "little bug," diminutive of chinche (see chinch); perhaps a folk-etymology alteration of a word from Quechua or Aymara.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper