[juh-raf or, esp. British, -rahf]
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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World English Dictionary
giraffe (dʒɪˈrɑːf, -ˈræf)
n , 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
[C17: from Italian giraffa, from Arabic zarāfah, probably of African origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
Giraffes sport impossibly long necks that provide access to the leaves atop
Giraffes are so tall because their ancestors ate the top branches off trees.
Giraffes' long necks are perfectly suited to harvesting tender leaves beyond
  the reach of other herbivores.
Giraffes need to recognize and mate with others of their own kind-and not, say,
  with antelopes or okapi.
Related Words
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