Definition of paca in English:



  • A large nocturnal South American rodent that has a reddish-brown coat patterned with rows of white spots and is hunted for its meat.

    Genus Cuniculus, family Dasyproctidae: two species

    • ‘What she finds stuffed into its pens and cages, or tethered nearby, is a fair representation of Nicaragua's jungle wildlife: scores of parrots and parakeets, pacas, an ocelot cub, deer yearlings, a spider monkey.’
    • ‘Eight other species, including pacas, pacaranas, spiny rats and porcupines, also steal Brazil nuts stored by agoutis.’
    • ‘It is an unfortunate and potentially confusing accident of taxonomy that agoutis do not belong to the family Agoutidae, which instead contains their relatives, the pacas.’
    • ‘We saw squirrel monkeys, capuchins, spider monkeys, peccaries, kinkajous, coatis, howler monkeys, tayras - a large mustelid that Martyn thought was a tree otter - pacas, night monkeys, giant anteaters and a tapir.’
    • ‘Agoutis are smaller than their relatives the piglike pacas and larger than squirrels, which they resemble.’


Mid 17th century: via Spanish and Portuguese from Tupi.