[ Matt's World of Wicked Giraffes]

History Default Document

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), is a cud-chewing, hoofed mammal, it forms with the okapi, the family Giraffidae (order Artiodactyla). To the Romans, the giraffe was "camelopardalis," ("camel marked like a leopard"), a term that survived in English as "camelopard." The word "giraffe" comes from the Arabic zaràfa. As a verb it means "to jump" or "to hurry," leading to the noun "one who walks swiftly."

It has also been traced to an Ethiopia word that denotes "graceful one." But its primary derivation, in the opinion of linguistic authority, stems from a source meaning "assemblage," as in assemblage of animals.

The Greeks were more specific: they contributed its scientific name, camelopardalis (or the more common, camelopard), which literally describes a camel's body wearing a leopard's coat.

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