Guinea pig Guin"ea pig` [Prob. a mistake for Guiana pig.] 1. (Zo["o]l.) A small Brazilian rodent ({Cavia porcellus} or {Cavia cobaya}), about seven inches in length and usually of a white color, with spots of orange and black. Called also {cavy}. It is the domesticated form of the wild cavy, often kept as a pet and used commonly as an experimental animal in laboratory research. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

2. Hence, [figuratively]: Any animal or person used in an experiment; -- also applied to people who are unwillingly or unknowingly subjected by authorities to policies or procedures which might cause bodily or mental harm. [PJC]

3. A contemptuous sobriquet. [Obs.] --Smollett [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cavy — Ca vy, n.; pl. {Cavies}. [NL. cavia, fr. Brazilian cabiai: cf. F. cabiai.] (Zo[ o]l.) A rodent of the genera {Cavia} and {Dolichotis}, as the guinea pig ({Cavia cobaya}). Cavies are natives of South America. [1913 Webster] {Water cavy} (Zo[ o]l.) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cavy — ► NOUN (pl. cavies) ▪ a guinea pig or related South American rodent. ORIGIN Latin cavia, from Carib …   English terms dictionary

  • cavy — [kā′vē] n. pl. cavies [< ModL Cavia < Galibi cabiai] any of a family (Caviidae) of short tailed South American rodents, as the guinea pig …   English World dictionary

  • cavy — /kay vee/, n., pl. cavies. any of several short tailed or tailless South American rodents of the family Caviidae, as the guinea pig, capybara, or agouti. [1790 1800; < NL Cavia name of the genus < Carib (Galibi) cabiai] * * * Any of several… …   Universalium

  • Cavy — This most interesting surname is probably of Old French origin, and is a diminutive form of Cave, which has two separate interpretations. Firstly, it is likely to be a metonymic occupational name for someone employed in or in charge of the wine… …   Surnames reference

  • cavy — noun (plural cavies) Etymology: New Latin Cavia, genus name, from obsolete Portuguese çavia (now sauiá) the spiny rat Makalata (Echimys) armata, from Tupi saujá Date: 1796 any of several short tailed rough haired South American rodents (family… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cavy — noun A guinea pig …   Wiktionary

  • cavy — ca·vy kā vē n, pl ca·vies any of several short tailed So. American rodents (family Caviidae) esp GUINEA PIG * * * ca·vy (kaґve) guinea pig …   Medical dictionary

  • cavy — ca·vy || keɪvɪ n. any of a number of South American rodents (i.e. guinea pig, capybara, etc.) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • cavy — [ keɪvi] noun (plural cavies) a guinea pig or related South American rodent. [Family Caviidae: numerous species.] Origin C18: from mod. L. cavia, from Galibi cabiai …   English new terms dictionary

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