One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A forest-dwelling wild pig with several upturned hornlike tusks, native to Malaysia.
Babyrousa babyrussa, family Suidae
- ‘They also hunted wild pigs as well as the babirusa or pig deer, so named because of their long legs and elongated tusks that curl over the head, at first glance like horns.’
- ‘Fruits close to the ground are gobbled by babirusas (forest pigs), deer and other earth-bound animals.’
- ‘The babirusa's elaborate upper tusks are the upper canine teeth, whose sockets are reversed, so they grow vertically up through the skin of the snout.’
- ‘I imagined the millions of fig seeds dispersed through the forest by big - tusked babirusas or dropped from the canopy by far-ranging hornbills and macaques.’
- ‘Also, there was a sequence of this weird-looking pig from Indonesia called the babirusa, that I'd never heard of.’
Late 17th century: from Malay, from babi ‘hog’ + rusa ‘deer’.
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