One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a chamois (genus Rupicapra) (obsolete). In later use (in form Rupicapra): the genus to which the chamois belongs, which contains only two species.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in John Ray (1627–1705), naturalist and theologian. From classical Latin rūpicapra mountain goat, chamois from rūpi-, combining form of rūpēs steep rocky cliff, crag + capra she-goat.
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