- an African mammal, Okapia johnstoni, closely related to and resembling the giraffe, but smaller and with a much shorter neck.
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
There were hunters from the forests of far-off Bongindanga where the okapi roams.Bones
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.
- 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
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).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper