- a large herbivorous mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, having a thick hairless body, short legs, and a large head and muzzle, found in and near the rivers, lakes, etc., of Africa, and able to remain under water for a considerable time.
Origin of hippopotamus
Examples from the Web for hippopotami
She was overjoyed; there were no comparisons with hippopotami in HER mind.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
Hippopotami lay snorting unconcernedly in a stream that was crossed.From Pole to Pole
Sven Anders Hedin
There were six rivers to cross, full (says Isaaco) of alligators and hippopotami.
His thief object was to find a country frequented by hippopotami and giraffes.The Giraffe Hunters
There was no fear, no rivalry, and no enmity between them and the hippopotami.Tales of Space and Time
Herbert George Wells
- a very large massive gregarious artiodactyl mammal, Hippopotamus amphibius, living in or around the rivers of tropical Africa: family Hippopotamidae. It has short legs and a thick skin sparsely covered with hair
- pigmy hippopotamus a related but smaller animal, Choeropsis liberiensis
Word Origin and History for hippopotami
1560s, from Late Latin hippopotamus, from Greek hippopotamus "riverhorse" (earlier ho hippos ho potamios "the horse of the river"), from hippos "horse" (see equine) + potamos "river, rushing water" (see potamo-). Replaced Middle English ypotame (c.1300), which is from the same source but via Old French. Glossed in Old English as sæhengest.
Ypotamos comen flyngynge. ... Grete bestes and griselich ["Kyng Alisaunder," c.1300]