• synonyms


noun, plural coy·pus, (especially collectively) coy·pu.
  1. a large, South American, aquatic rodent, Myocastor (or Myopotamus) coypus, yielding the fur nutria.
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Origin of coypu

1785–95; < American Spanish coipú < Araucanian coipu
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coypu

Historical Examples

  • Coypu are abundant in the fresh waters of South America, even small ponds being often tenanted by one or more pairs.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 6


  • Another animal that is at least in one respect allied to the 'possum is the coypu.

  • In habits and otherwise the coypu is much like the beaver, but is a smaller animal, and has a rounder tail.

  • One was the common Magellan otter (Lutra felina), the other a nutria (Myopotamus coypu).

    Cruise of the 'Alert'

    R. W. Coppinger

  • The coypu, sometimes called the South American beaver, inhabits the river-banks, and is highly prized for its fur.

British Dictionary definitions for coypu


noun plural -pus or -pu
  1. an aquatic South American hystricomorph rodent, Myocastor coypus, introduced into Europe: family Capromyidae. It resembles a small beaver with a ratlike tail and is bred in captivity for its soft grey underfur
  2. the fur of this animal
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Also called: nutria

Word Origin

C18: from American Spanish coipú, from Araucanian kóypu
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