Definition of agouti in English:



  • 1A large long-legged burrowing rodent related to the guinea pig, native to Central and South America.

    • ‘Macaws, owls, monkeys and agouti were in cages draped in foliage - a sort of home away from home - and watched closely by officials of the Emperor Valley Zoo.’
    • ‘Their prey consists mainly of birds and small mammals such as rats and agoutis.’
    • ‘It was early and the forest was quiet, and I was looking for an agouti, a cat-sized rodent and subject of Enrique Ortiz's recent research.’
    • ‘People gather the nuts, as do native rabbit-size rodents called agoutis.’
    • ‘There are more than 250 species of birds, in an island just 26 miles long and seven miles wide, and animals from armadillos and agoutis to racoons and opossums.’
    • ‘Despite its hardness, it can be gnawed through, after it has fallen to the ground, by rodents such as the agouti.’
    • ‘These include the capybara, the agouti, the coypu, the cavy and the chinchilla.’
    • ‘Eyes in shining pairs blinked from the roadside: foxes, agoutis, maybe wild cats.’
    • ‘There are many possibilities, especially for comparative research in mole rats, agouti, gerbils and elephant shrews.’
    • ‘Two days later, the professors found themselves confronting another polar bear, two mandrills, two agoutis, a tiger, a vulture, two eagles, and two more animal proprietors, who, like the first, were retained to care for the animals.’
    • ‘In wild areas, they hunt the tapir (a kind of wild hog), the anteater, and the jaguar, as well as the agouti (a rabbit-like rodent).’
    • ‘His current project measuring ocelot and agouti predator/prey interactions using telemetry tracking is supported by the National Geographic Council for Research and Exploration.’
    • ‘Brazil nuts are packed in a three-layer, highly reinforced pod that survives an 80-meter fall from the canopy, then defies opening by any animal except its ally, the agouti, a caching rodent with strong, angled teeth.’
    • ‘As we walked through one forest concession to check seedling survival, Ortiz described his findings in terms of the ‘agouti shadow’: the outline of how far an agouti disperses an individual tree's pods and the nuts inside.’
    • ‘Again, unconscious of the life-cycle of its food-plant, the large rodent called the agouti, in tropical America, buries seeds such as those of the brazil nut.’
    • ‘Soon an agouti (a large tropical rodent) appeared and began to feed among the trumpeters, which were unperturbed by its presence.’
    • ‘The agouti - a large, golden-brown rodent which looks about as succulent a meal as a jaguar could ever hope to find - emerged from the forest and stood sniffing the air.’
    • ‘Among the animals selected are birds of assorted sizes and habits, tortoises, iguanas, and mammals (especially primates but also peccaries, agoutis, and coatimundis).’
    • ‘You may even see an opossum-like manicou or the large agouti - a rodent introduced as food by the Amerindians.’
    • ‘The trees' seeds are dispersed by birds, wild pigs, agoutis, bats, and monkeys, as well as by wind and water.’
    1. 1.1 Fur in which each hair has alternate dark and light bands, producing a grizzled appearance.
      • ‘If agouti binds to this receptor, melanocytes make the red-yellow pigment.’
      • ‘In mice, as in many other mammals, the wild-type pigmentation pattern of the fur is called agouti.’
      • ‘The dorsal hair shows so-called agouti pattern.’
      • ‘A tabby pattern is still visible in an agouti, orange cat.’
      • ‘If they can see a tabby pattern in the fur, then the cat must be agouti, whereas if the colors are solid then the cat is nonagouti.’
    2. 1.2 A rodent, especially a mouse, having agouti fur.
      • ‘The fanciers, from whom most yellows come, ordinarily keep few agouti mice.’
      • ‘Crossings between dark variants and gray agoutis only produced agoutis.’
      • ‘Fig 2 shows the chemical analysis of melanins from dorsal midline fur of adult agouti mutant mice.’
      • ‘Two-month-old genetically identical Agouti mice.’
      • ‘Many genetics texts include examples of agouti and black in mice.’


Mid 16th century: via French or from Spanish aguti, from Tupi akutí.