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[pahy-kuh] /ˈpaɪ kə/
any of several small, brown to gray tailless mammals of the genus Ochotona, resembling rabbits with short ears and legs and inhabiting western mountains of North America and parts of eastern Europe and Asia.
Origin of pika
1820-30; recorded by the German naturalist P.S. Pallas (1741-1811) as the name for the animal in Evenki; compare Evenki (N Baikal dial.) pikačān a name for the tree creeper (Certhia familiaris), apparently based on Russian píkatʾ to squeak, peep (compare Russian pishchúkha a name for both the tree creeper and the pika, which emits a shrill sound) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pika
Historical Examples
  • American pikas all belong to the subgenus pika, which occurs also in Eurasia.

  • In slide rock and in bouldery moraines up as high as thirteen thousand feet, one finds the pika, or cony.

  • The pikas worked a relay system and the weasel abandoned the trail when the fourth pika became the object of the chase.

    American Weasels E. Raymond Hall
  • And that is how Little Chief the pika learned to make hay while the sun shone in the days of plenty.

    Mother West Wind "Where" Stories Thornton W. Burgess
  • On the wildest and most desolate peaks and rock piles is found the cony or pika or "rock rabbit" as it is variously called.

    The Lake of the Sky George Wharton James
British Dictionary definitions for pika


any burrowing lagomorph mammal of the family Ochotonidae of mountainous regions of North America and Asia, having short rounded ears, a rounded body, and rudimentary tail Also called cony
Word Origin
C19: from Tungusic piika
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 pika

rabbit-like animal of Siberia and North America, 1827, from Tunguse piika.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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