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[tey-per, tuh-peer] /ˈteɪ pər, təˈpɪər/
noun, plural tapirs (especially collectively) tapir.
any of several large, stout, three-toed ungulates of the family Tapiridae, of Central and South America, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra, somewhat resembling swine and having a long, flexible snout: all species are threatened or endangered.
1560-70;Tupi tapira
Can be confused
taper, tapir. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tapir
  • Wildlife includes tapir, deer, howler monkeys and snakes.
  • Therefore the best it can manage in the line of pachyderms is the modest tapir.
  • It does not seem unfair to call it an aggressively unattractive animal, about as cuddly as the average tapir.
  • Most of the pieces of fossilized bone came from an animal identified as a tapir.
  • Nearly complete mandible, and part of upper jaw of tapir.
British Dictionary definitions for tapir


noun (pl) -pirs, -pir
any perissodactyl mammal of the genus Tapirus, such as T. indicus (Malayan tapir), of South and Central America and SE Asia, having an elongated snout, three-toed hind legs, and four-toed forelegs: family Tapiridae
Word Origin
C18: from Tupi tapiira
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 tapir

1774, perhaps from French tapir (1580), ultimately from Tupi (Brazil) tapira.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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