Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of zebra
Meaning of zebra by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Zebra [1].


    From the Congolese word for the animal ( possibly meaning striped ) via Old Portuguese zevra. This etymology is disputed .


    • ( UK, 通例 ) IPA: /ˈzɛbɹə/, /ˈziːbɹə/
    • ( US and trad. English ) IPA: /ˈziːbɹə/


    zebra ( plural: zebras )

    1. An African animal, closely related to a horse, with black and white stripes .
    2. ( sports, slang ) A referee .
    3. ( medicine, slang ) An unlikely diagnosis, especially for symptoms probably caused by a common ailment. ( Originates in the advice often given to medical students: "When you hear hoof beats, think of horses, not zebras." )
    4. ( vulgar, pejorative, slang ) A bi-racial person, specifically one born to a member of the Sub-Saharan African race and a Caucasian .
    The term "zebra," as used in its pejorative sense, was popularized on the television situation comedy "The Jeffersons." The term was used by the series protagonist, George Jefferson ( Sherman Hemsley ), to express disdain for his daughter-in-law, Jenny Willis Jefferson ( whose father was white and mother was black ) .


    Scientific names

    • Equus burchelli
    • Equus grevyi
    • Equus quagga
    • Equus zebra

    See also

    • quagga


Explanation of zebra by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. any of several fleet black-and-white striped African equines

    Definition of zebra by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Zebra n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] ( Zool. ) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or brackish bands.

      ☞ The true or mountain zebra ( Equus zebra syn. Asinus zebra ) is nearly white, and the bands which cover the body and legs are glossy black. Its tail has a tuft of black hair at the tip. It inhabits the mountains of Central and Southern Africa, and is noted for its wariness and wildness, as well as for its swiftness. The second species ( Equus Burchellii syn. Asinus Burchellii or Equus quagga ), known as Burchell's zebra, plains zebra, and dauw, is the most abundant, inhabiting the grassy plains of tropical and southern Africa, and differing from the preceding in not having dark bands on the legs, while those on the body are more irregular. It has a long tail, covered with long white flowing hair. Grevy's zebra ( Equus grevyi ) is distinct from the others in being placed in the subgenus Dolichohippus, whereas the plains and mountain zebras are placed in the subgenus Hippotigris. More on zebras can be found at:


      Zebra caterpillar, the larva of an American noctuid moth ( Mamestra picta ). It is light yellow, with a broad black stripe on the back and one on each side; the lateral stripes are crossed with withe lines. It feeds on cabbages, beets, clover, and other cultivated plants. -- Zebra opossum, the zebra wolf. See under Wolf. -- Zebra parrakeet, an Australian grass parrakeet, often kept as a cage bird. Its upper parts are mostly pale greenish yellow, transversely barred with brownish black crescents; the under parts, rump, and upper tail coverts, are bright green; two central tail feathers and the cheek patches are blue. Called also canary parrot, scallop parrot, shell parrot, and undulated parrot. -- Zebra poison ( Bot. ), a poisonous tree ( Euphorbia arborea ) of the Spurge family, found in South Africa. Its milky juice is so poisonous that zebras have been killed by drinking water in which its branches had been placed, and it is also used as an arrow poison. J. Smith ( Dict. Econ. Plants ). -- Zebra shark. Same as
      Tiger shark, under Tiger. -- Zebra spider, a hunting spider. -- Zebra swallowtail, a very large North American swallow-tailed butterfly ( Iphiclides ajax ), in which the wings are yellow, barred with black; -- called also ajax. -- Zebra wolf. See under Wolf.