Definition of nutria in US English:



  • 1A large semiaquatic rodent resembling a beaver, native to South America. It is kept in captivity for its fur and has become naturalized in many other areas.

    Myocastor coypus, the only member of the family Myocastoridae

    • ‘A South American rodent, the nutria escaped or was released into the wild from pens.’
    • ‘‘When nutria eat in an area, the ground just turns to mud,’ says Miller.’
    • ‘Originally from South America, the nutria has devastated thousands of acres of wetlands along the U.S. Gulf Coast with its voracious appetite and prolific mating habits.’
    • ‘Hurricane Katrina dealt a blow to the nutria, the invasive rodent species that plagues the Gulf states.’
    • ‘Hurricane Katrina's path of destruction dealt at least a temporary setback to the nutria, the South American rodent species that is devouring wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico, according to experts.’
    1. 1.1 The pelt of the nutria.
      • ‘One of the blond models came out wearing a coat made of something called ‘nutria,’ and Miss Castle described her coat as ‘every woman's coat, because it covers all unnatural protuberances.’’
      • ‘Extremely poor prices for nutria pelts have resulted in very little trapping activity.’
      • ‘Nutria fur never really caught on, and after a few escaped into the Louisiana swamp, they bred like crazy and are now ravaging wetlands around the country.’
      • ‘My favorite piece of wearing apparel is my 3/4 length nutria coat that I bought at the Red, White, and Blue Thrift Store for $9.95.’
      • ‘McCartney admitted he used to wear fur in his early years of career, ... and he said, 'It's nutria'.’


Early 19th century: from Spanish, literally ‘otter’.