- any of various small, plump rodents (genus Cavia) with short ears and no external tail: often domesticated and used in biological experiments
- any person or thing used in an experiment or test
Origin of guinea pigprobably origin, originally brought to England by ships plying between England, the region of Guinea, and South America (where it originated)
- Any of various small, stocky, short-eared rodents of the genus Cavia of South America, having no visible tail. The domesticated species C. porcellus is widely kept as a pet and is used in biomedical research.
- Informal A person who is used as a subject for experimentation or research.
Origin of guinea pigPerhaps alteration (influenced by Guinea used as a name for any faraway unknown country )of Guiana
(plural guinea pigs)
- A tailless rodent of the the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia genus, with short ears and larger than a hamster; the species Cavia porcellus is often kept as a pet.
- A rodent of any of several species within the family Caviidae.
- (figuratively) A living experimental subject.
- He became a human guinea pig and was paid by the company.
The origin of "guinea" in "guinea pig" is hard to explain. One theory is that the animals were brought to Europe by way of Guinea, leading people to think they had originated there. "Guinea" was also frequently used in English to refer generally to any far-off, unknown country, and so the name may simply be a colorful reference to the animal's foreignness. Others believe "guinea" may be an alteration of the word coney (“rabbit”); guinea pigs were referred to as "pig coneys" in Edward Topsell's 1607 treatise on quadrupeds.
- attributive form of guinea pig, noun.