Student Dictionary

One entry found for hippopotamus.
Main Entry: hip·po·pot·a·mus
Pronunciation: secondarystresship-schwa-primarystresspät-schwa-mschwas
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural hip·po·pot·a·mus·es or hip·po·pot·a·mi /-secondarystressmimacr, -(secondarystress)memacron/
Etymology: from Latin hippopotamus "hippopotamus," from Greek hippopotamos (same meaning), literally, "river horse," from hippos "horse" and potamos "river"
: a very large mammal of Africa south of the Sahara Desert that spends most of its time in the water, feeds on plants, has an extremely large head and mouth, very thick hairless grayish skin, and short legs with four toes on each foot; also : a smaller related mammal of western Africa
Word History The ancient Greeks gave the name hippopotamos to a big, barrel-shaped animal they saw in Africa. English, using the Latin spelling hippopotamus, has kept this name. It is a combination of the Greek words hippos, meaning "horse" and potamos, meaning "river." In fact, the hippopotamus is more closely related to the hog than to the horse. However, the "river" in the name is certainly right for an animal that always lives near water and spends most of its time in it. The eyes, ears, and nostrils of a hippopotamus are placed so that the animal can see, hear, and breathe even if most of its head is underwater.
[hippopotamus illustration]

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