Guinea Pig Definition
Other Word Forms of Guinea Pig
Origin of Guinea Pig
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.
Perhaps alteration (influenced by Guinea used as a name for any faraway unknown country) of Guiana
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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