Definition of alpaca in English:



  • 1A long-haired domesticated South American mammal related to the llama, valued for its wool.

    • ‘For two days, we climbed towards Akhamani, the Kallawayas' sacred mountain, its lower slopes verdant, carpeted with terraces and grazed by llamas, alpacas and sheep.’
    • ‘For many years, historians and scientists assumed that the Incas had created both the llamas and alpacas by domesticating the guanaco, which is larger and more widely distributed than the vicuna.’
    • ‘The Aymara use a great many materials in their weaving, including cotton, as well as wool from sheep, alpacas, and llamas.’
    • ‘Camelids such as llamas and alpacas are not native to South America but arrived there from the north, as did some deer and horses.’
    • ‘Alongside the traditional exhibits of horses, cows and sheep were examples of Greenside alpacas and Malham llamas.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The wool of the alpaca.
      ‘a mixture of wool, alpaca, and silk’
      • ‘Whatever it becomes will have to be handwashed, and quickly, as I've learned that angora shouldn't ever soak in water (nor should alpaca, for that matter).’
      • ‘Their elaborate fabrics, woven on looms from cotton and alpaca wool, are known today because they were used in a type of mummification process.’
      • ‘‘There are 22 natural shades of alpaca - lots of chocolates, creams and greys,’ she explains.’
      • ‘The group is made up of smaller clubs who love working with natural fibres (ie wool, silk, alpaca and mohair), and they come together each year to display their crafts.’
      • ‘Vicuna wool is prized even more highly than alpaca wool but the species is protected and its wool rarely found in garments.’
    2. 1.2[mass noun]Fabric made from alpaca wool.
      [as modifier] ‘an alpaca jersey’
      • ‘It's a light silk / alpaca blend, and so airy that it's actually thermal.’
      • ‘There was some inspired audience participation and I found myself constantly laughing, though it may have had more to do with the Peruvian, wearing a very cool alpaca pullover, sitting next to me who was comedy gold.’
      • ‘One morning late in August, the local police chief and seven gun-toting officers arrived alongside the owner of a cloth factory who claimed to be searching for seven rolls of alpaca fabric stolen from him in a heist.’
      • ‘She says they talked about producing long and short versions of her cross over V-neck sweater and cardigans in alpaca and linen.’
      • ‘People make use of blankets and heavy wool and alpaca garments to keep warm.’


Late 18th century: from Spanish, from Aymara allpaca.