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.

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

Related Words for chinchilla

rodent, hare, bunny, buck, cony, capon, doe, cuniculus, cottontail, lapin, coney, lagomorph

Examples from the Web for chinchilla

Historical Examples of chinchilla

  • 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?


    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.


    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



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