Definition of agouti in English:



  • 1A large long-legged burrowing rodent related to the guinea pig, native to Central and South America.

    • ‘It was early and the forest was quiet, and I was looking for an agouti, a cat-sized rodent and subject of Enrique Ortiz's recent research.’
    • ‘Despite its hardness, it can be gnawed through, after it has fallen to the ground, by rodents such as the agouti.’
    • ‘There are many possibilities, especially for comparative research in mole rats, agouti, gerbils and elephant shrews.’
    • ‘Brazil nuts are packed in a three-layer, highly reinforced pod that survives an 80-meter fall from the canopy, then defies opening by any animal except its ally, the agouti, a caching rodent with strong, angled teeth.’
    • ‘Their prey consists mainly of birds and small mammals such as rats and agoutis.’
    • ‘People gather the nuts, as do native rabbit-size rodents called agoutis.’
    • ‘The agouti - a large, golden-brown rodent which looks about as succulent a meal as a jaguar could ever hope to find - emerged from the forest and stood sniffing the air.’
    • ‘These include the capybara, the agouti, the coypu, the cavy and the chinchilla.’
    • ‘His current project measuring ocelot and agouti predator/prey interactions using telemetry tracking is supported by the National Geographic Council for Research and Exploration.’
    • ‘In wild areas, they hunt the tapir (a kind of wild hog), the anteater, and the jaguar, as well as the agouti (a rabbit-like rodent).’
    • ‘Eyes in shining pairs blinked from the roadside: foxes, agoutis, maybe wild cats.’
    • ‘As we walked through one forest concession to check seedling survival, Ortiz described his findings in terms of the ‘agouti shadow’: the outline of how far an agouti disperses an individual tree's pods and the nuts inside.’
    • ‘You may even see an opossum-like manicou or the large agouti - a rodent introduced as food by the Amerindians.’
    • ‘Two days later, the professors found themselves confronting another polar bear, two mandrills, two agoutis, a tiger, a vulture, two eagles, and two more animal proprietors, who, like the first, were retained to care for the animals.’
    • ‘There are more than 250 species of birds, in an island just 26 miles long and seven miles wide, and animals from armadillos and agoutis to racoons and opossums.’
    • ‘Macaws, owls, monkeys and agouti were in cages draped in foliage - a sort of home away from home - and watched closely by officials of the Emperor Valley Zoo.’
    • ‘The trees' seeds are dispersed by birds, wild pigs, agoutis, bats, and monkeys, as well as by wind and water.’
    • ‘Again, unconscious of the life-cycle of its food-plant, the large rodent called the agouti, in tropical America, buries seeds such as those of the brazil nut.’
    • ‘Soon an agouti (a large tropical rodent) appeared and began to feed among the trumpeters, which were unperturbed by its presence.’
    • ‘Among the animals selected are birds of assorted sizes and habits, tortoises, iguanas, and mammals (especially primates but also peccaries, agoutis, and coatimundis).’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Fur in which each hair has alternate dark and light bands, producing a grizzled appearance.
      • ‘If they can see a tabby pattern in the fur, then the cat must be agouti, whereas if the colors are solid then the cat is nonagouti.’
      • ‘A tabby pattern is still visible in an agouti, orange cat.’
      • ‘If agouti binds to this receptor, melanocytes make the red-yellow pigment.’
      • ‘The dorsal hair shows so-called agouti pattern.’
      • ‘In mice, as in many other mammals, the wild-type pigmentation pattern of the fur is called agouti.’
    2. 1.2A rodent, especially a mouse, having agouti fur.
      • ‘Crossings between dark variants and gray agoutis only produced agoutis.’
      • ‘Fig 2 shows the chemical analysis of melanins from dorsal midline fur of adult agouti mutant mice.’
      • ‘Two-month-old genetically identical Agouti mice.’
      • ‘Many genetics texts include examples of agouti and black in mice.’
      • ‘The fanciers, from whom most yellows come, ordinarily keep few agouti mice.’


Mid 16th century: via French or from Spanish aguti, from Tupi akutí.