zebra

[ zee-bruh; British also zeb-ruh ]
/ ˈzi brə; British also ˈzɛb rə /
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noun, plural ze·bras, (especially collectively) ze·bra.

any of several horselike African mammals of the genus Equus, each species having a characteristic pattern of black or dark-brown stripes on a whitish background: all zebra species are threatened or endangered.
Also called zebra butterfly. a tropical butterfly, Heliconius charithonius, having black wings barred with yellow.
(initial capital letter) a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter Z.
Football Slang. an official, who usually wears a black and white striped shirt.

Origin of zebra

1590–1600; 1975–80 for def 4; < Portuguese zebra, zebro the Iberian wild ass (Spanish cebra), perhaps < Latin equiferus (Pliny) kind of wild horse, equivalent to equi- (combining form of equus horse) + ferus wild
Related formsze·bra·like, ze·bra·ic [zi-brey-ik] /zɪˈbreɪ ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for zebra

British Dictionary definitions for zebra (1 of 2)

zebra

/ (ˈziːbrə, ˈzɛbrə) /

noun plural -ras or -ra

any of several mammals of the horse family (Equidae), such as Equus burchelli (the common zebra), of southern and eastern Africa, having distinctive black-and-white striped hides
Derived Formszebra-like or zebraic (zɪˈbreɪɪk), adjectivezebrine (ˈziːbraɪn, ˈzɛb-) or zebroid, adjective

Word Origin for zebra

C16: via Italian from Old Spanish: wild ass, probably from Vulgar Latin eciferus (unattested) wild horse, from Latin equiferus, from equus horse + ferus wild

British Dictionary definitions for zebra (2 of 2)

Zebra

/ (ˈziːbrə, ˈzɛbrə) /

noun finance

a noninterest-paying bond in which the accrued income is taxed annually rather than on redemptionCompare zero (def. 12)

Word Origin for Zebra

C20: from zero-coupon bond
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 zebra

zebra


n.

c.1600, from Italian zebra, perhaps via Portuguese, earlier applied to a now-extinct wild ass, said to be Congolese [OED], or Amharic [Klein], but perhaps ultimately from Latin equiferus "wild horse," from equus "horse" (see equine) + ferus (see fierce).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper