[pah-kuh, pak-uh]
a large, white-spotted, almost tailless rodent, Agouti paca, of Central and South America, having features resembling a guinea pig and rabbit: valued as food.
Also called spotted cavy.

1650–60; < Spanish or Portuguese < Tupi Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To paca
World English Dictionary
paca (ˈpɑːkə, ˈpækə)
a large burrowing hystricomorph rodent, Cuniculus paca, of Central and South America, having white-spotted brown fur and a large head: family Dasyproctidae
[C17: from Spanish, from Tupi]

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

Central and South American rodent, 1657, from Sp., from Tupi (Brazil) paca.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


either of two species of South American rodents with piglike bodies, large heads, and swollen cheeks. They have short ears, large eyes, and long whiskers, and their bodies are stout, with large rumps and short limbs. The front feet have four toes, and the hindfeet have five-two tiny side toes and three long, weight-bearing middle toes, all with thick claws.

Learn more about paca with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
One of the two roadside restaurants is serving paca-a large rodent that is remarkably tasty fried.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature