One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small South American rodent with soft grey fur and a long bushy tail.
Genus Chinchilla, family Chinchillidae: two species
- ‘The Rodentia also includes beavers, muskrats, porcupines, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, marmots, chinchillas, voles, lemmings, and many others.’
- ‘Miranda, 32, lives just outside Bristol with her husband and two chinchillas.’
- ‘True, there may be a great many cuter animals - koalas, chinchillas, moomins and ewoks to name but a few, but guinea pigs reap extra appeal due to their peculiar nature.’
- ‘Living caviomorphs include guinea pigs, chinchillas, and capybaras, which at 50 kg weigh in as the largest living rodents.’
- ‘There was also a pets competition for children who arrived with chinchillas, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.’
- ‘Other unusual finds include a couple of chinchillas and 16 dogs that had been left in the Louisiana State University Medical Center, Bafalis says.’
- ‘The rodent also seems to be an ancestor of the hystricognaths, a group of rodents that is spread across the globe and includes porcupines, African mole rats, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.’
- ‘He personally has freeze-dried weasels, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, and more.’
- ‘The common name of these rats is probably due to their long, dense, and soft fur, which is sometimes sold in fur markets, although it is not as desirably as that of true chinchillas (Chinchillidae).’
- ‘Last I heard they were raising chinchillas in the Dominican Republic.’
- ‘I was trapped for about half an hour with the chinchillas jumping around chewing on my hair.’
- ‘The first stop allows youngsters to feed the deer and sheep, then the party moves onwards to stroke the ducks and, finally, to feed the rabbits, rats, mice, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters and terrapins.’
- ‘It turns out that chinchillas and cotton-top tamarins can do a lot of the same things.’
- ‘The guinea-pig belongs to the family of Cabiidae, which is genetically closer - despite its appearance - to the chinchilla or the porcupine than to the mouse or the rat.’
- ‘An animal-loving teenager was left ‘devastated’ after the theft of two chinchillas.’
- ‘The reality is that it takes the barbaric murder of 50 chinchillas or other furry animals, on average, to produce a full-length coat.’
- ‘Is it closest to the mole rats, or porcupines, or even chinchillas?’
- ‘They are definitely not rats or squirrels, and are only vaguely like a guinea pig or a chinchilla.’
- ‘Unfortunately, chinchillas are nearly extinct in the wild, so little is known of their behavior under natural conditions.’
- ‘If you've got chinchillas or hamsters or any other small furry creatures, there is more than a trip to the microwave in store for them when it comes to playtime.’
2A cat or rabbit of a breed with silver-grey or grey fur.
- ‘There were also separate standards for shaded silvers, chinchillas and tortoiseshells.’
- ‘He was surely the reason why I remained in grade school and failed to earn millions by raising mushrooms, breeding chinchillas or stuffing envelopes at home.’
- ‘The five cats include three pedigrees - a silver tipped chinchilla and two Persians - a tabby and white cat and grey cat.’
3mass noun The highly valued fur of the chinchilla, or of the chinchilla rabbit.
- ‘Consider her demeanour when she emerged from the courtroom after hearing her guilty verdict wearing that ill-advised dyed chinchilla scarf.’
- ‘She wore a canary yellow chinchilla clutch coat and pristine, satin, white gloves up to her elbows.’
- ‘Amy stepped into the room from the walk-in closet, a white chinchilla wrap and white gloves in her hands.’
- ‘Even softer was the chinchilla that lined baby corduroy gilets and below-the-knee hunting shorts, both of them covered in pockets for any game you might find in the Sicilian scrub.’
- ‘Look to fashion magazines and mail-order catalogs for silhouette ideas and to determine whether you prefer a long-pile fur such as fox or Mongolian lamb, or shorter ones such as chinchilla, sheared beaver or leopard.’
- ‘Enter Torre, 5,000 square feet of everything from white T-shirts to chinchilla furs for big guys.’
- ‘Ditto for the Bentley convertible, the chinchilla coat and the diamond Rolex.’
- ‘In the spring of 1920 alone, she spent $1 million in a single week, buying $300,000 worth of pearls, a $65,000 Russian sable coat and a $30,000 chinchilla.’
- ‘Phillip buys Barry and Sean chinchilla rabbits, but Barry and Sean reciprocate with ponies, jodhpurs and black velvet jackets for Daphne and Chloe.’
- ‘Topping it all with fur, Dior has turned chinchilla and foxtail inside out and unlined with the aim of showing off their rough unfinished zigzag seams without a modicum of pretense.’
- ‘Without another word, the old woman in the yellow chinchilla coat tugged at Francois's gemmed leash and trotted off, clutching her coat together with one hand.’
- ‘First, the amount of fur on show at the exhibition has angered many, including protest group PETA who reacted against his collection, which included fox, chinchilla, mink and sable furs.’
- ‘The rest are farmed furs, such as chinchilla or mink.’
- ‘There is a marked return to double-breasted coats, discretion at first glance giving way to luxurious linings of mink and chinchilla.’
- ‘He layers the bed with lots of, sort of deep, comfy fabrics, a faux chinchilla throw, kind of crazy stuff like that.’
- ‘You can find leopard, cheetah, chinchilla, mink and fox.’
Early 17th century: from Spanish, from Aymara or Quechua.
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