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[juh-raf or, esp. British, -rahf] /dʒəˈræf or, esp. British, -ˈrɑf/
a tall, long-necked, spotted ruminant, Giraffa camelopardalis, of Africa: the tallest living quadruped animal.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Camelopardalis.
1585-95; < French girafe < Italian giraffa < dialectal Arabic zirāfah, perhaps < Persian zurnāpā Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for giraffe
  • Stunning footage of giraffe framed by a beautiful sunset.
  • Some pterosaurs, on the other hand, were the size of a giraffe.
  • The project has, so far, led to a mechanical giraffe and an elephant.
  • As with many extant large mammals, though, the giraffe is only a vestige of a once more diverse group.
  • Across the room, stylized wooden giraffe sculptures tower over a comfortable sofa.
  • We also ran into a giraffe that had some kind of skin disease, but looked healthy otherwise.
  • In effect, this newer, longer neck was a direct result of a giraffe's interaction with its environment.
  • The finch's beak, the giraffe's neck and sprinter's toes.
  • Show giraffe trying in vain to reach a piece of fruit high on a tree branch.
  • The monkey clambers up on top of giraffe's head and picks the fruit, but then eats it himself.
British Dictionary definitions for giraffe


/dʒɪˈrɑːf; -ˈræf/
noun (pl) -raffes, -raffe
a large ruminant mammal, Giraffa camelopardalis, inhabiting savannas of tropical Africa: the tallest mammal, with very long legs and neck and a colouring of regular reddish-brown patches on a beige ground: family Giraffidae
Word Origin
C17: from Italian giraffa, from Arabic zarāfah, probably of African origin
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
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Word Origin and History for giraffe
1594, from It. giraffa, from Ar. zarafa, probably from an African language. Earlier M.E. spellings varied wildly, depending on the source, including jarraf, ziraph, and gerfauntz, the last apparently reflecting some confusion with olifaunt "elephant." Replaced earlier camelopard, a compound of camel (for the long neck) and pard (1) "leopard" (for the spots).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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