Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

chinchilla

[chin-chil-uh]
See more synonyms for chinchilla on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a small, South American rodent, Chinchilla laniger, raised for its soft, silvery gray fur: now rare in the wild.
  2. the fur of this animal.
  3. something, as a coat or jacket, made of chinchilla fur: a floor-length chinchilla.
  4. a thick, napped, woolen fabric for coats.
Show More

Origin of chinchilla

1595–1605; < Spanish, perhaps, equivalent to chinche chinch + -illa < Latin -illa diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

rodentharebunnybuckconycapondoecuniculuscottontailchinchillalapinconeylagomorph

Examples from the Web for chinchilla

Historical Examples

  • The chinchilla, another rodent, is very common in the fields and esteros.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • Had I done this, when I was choosing my chinchilla cap and grey cloak?

    Daisy

    Elizabeth Wetherell

  • It occurred to her, also, that the velvet and chinchilla simply shouted "Money!"

    Angel Unawares

    C. N. Williamson

  • He has got a big name for the fur, and expects to cut out Chinchilla with it.

    Dariel

    R. D. Blackmore

  • I read how there's a big market for chinchilla skins right now.

    The Jack-Knife Man

    Ellis Parker Butler


British Dictionary definitions for chinchilla

chinchilla

noun
  1. 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
  2. the highly valued fur of this animal
  3. mountain chinchilla or mountain viscacha any of several long-tailed rodents of the genus Lagidium, having coarse poor quality fur
  4. a breed of rabbit with soft silver-grey fur
  5. a thick napped woollen cloth used for coats
Show More

Word Origin

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

n.

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper