• synonyms


noun, plural o·ka·pis, (especially collectively) o·ka·pi.
  1. an African mammal, Okapia johnstoni, closely related to and resembling the giraffe, but smaller and with a much shorter neck.
Show More

Origin of okapi

1900; < Bambuba (Mvu’ba), a Central Sudanic language of the NE Democratic Republic of the Congo (or < a related Pygmy dial.), according to English Africanist Harry Johnston (1858–1927), author of the first zoological descriptions of the animal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for okapi

Historical Examples of okapi

  • There were hunters from the forests of far-off Bongindanga where the okapi roams.


    Edgar Wallace

  • An okapi is worth a hundred other animals of any kind that one can name.

  • The Okapi lives in pairs in the deepest recesses of the forest.

  • This creature, of which the native name is "Okapi," is proposed to be called Ocapia johnstoni.

  • I am bitterly sorry and disappointed to be obliged to say it, but I think there can be no doubt that we have lost that okapi.

British Dictionary definitions for okapi


noun plural -pis or -pi
  1. a ruminant mammal, Okapia johnstoni, of the forests of central Africa, having a reddish-brown coat with horizontal white stripes on the legs and small horns: family Giraffidae
Show More

Word Origin for okapi

C20: from a Central African word
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 okapi


short-necked giraffe of central Africa, 1900, from the animal's name in Mbuba (Congo). Reported by English explorer Sir Harry Johnston (1858-1927).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper