Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

indri

[in-dree]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural in·dris.
  1. a short-tailed lemur, Indri indri, of Madagascar, about 2 feet (60 cm) in length: an endangered species.

Origin of indri

1830–40; < French indri < Malagasy indry look!, wrongly taken as animal's name
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for indri

Historical Examples

  • The Indri is the largest of Lemurs, measuring about two feet in length.

    The Cambridge Natural History, Vol X., Mammalia

    Frank Evers Beddard

  • As is the case with the Propithecus, the natives of Madagascar hold the Indri in awe and veneration.

  • The angular fissure is well developed, as in Lemur and the Indri; but it does not join the infero-frontal.


Word Origin and History for indri

n.

1839, European name for the babakoto, a lemur-like arboreal primate of Madagascar (Indris Lichanotus); the common story since late 19c. is that the name was given in error by French naturalist Pierre Sonnerat (1748-1814), c.1780, from mistaken use of Malagasy indry! "look! See!" Evidently this was what his native guides said when they spotted the creature and called his attention to it.

However, as Hacking (1981) pointed out, Sonnerat was far too familiar with indris -- he described and figured them in detail, and apparently kept at least one in captivity -- for this story to be plausible. Furthermore, endrina is actually recorded as a native name for the indri (Cousins, 1885), and indri could easily be a variant of this name. Although the word endrina is first recorded in Malagasy only in 1835, there is no evidence that it could be a back-formation from the French indri (Hacking, 1981), and it seems implausible that the Malagasy would adopt an erroneous French name for an animal they were them selves familiar with. [Dunkel, Alexander R., et al., "Giant rabbits, marmosets, and British comedies: etymology of lemur names, part 1," in "Lemur News," vol. 16, 2011-2012, p.67]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper