Definition of guinea pig in English:

guinea pig


  • 1A tailless South American rodent of the cavy family. Originally raised for food, it no longer occurs in the wild and is now typically kept as a pet or for laboratory research.

    Cavia porcellus, family Caviidae

    • ‘The domestic guinea pig, Cavia porcellus, now found worldwide in captivity, has been bred for meat for more than three thousand years in South America.’
    • ‘A major debate was raised by the claim that ‘the guinea pig is not a rodent’.’
    • ‘At school, our classroom had a small rodent zoo consisting of two rabbits, three hamsters, a litter of baby gerbils and a guinea pig.’
    • ‘There is no way on earth that, if PK gets mice (or hamsters, or a guinea pig, or a rabbit) that the cat is not going to end up making very short work of the thing.’
    • ‘Closer in appearance to the guinea pig than the reviled rat, the mammal likely fed on sea grass in ancient lagoons near the northwestern Venezuelan coast.’
    • ‘Individual wild guinea pigs and California ground squirrels spend more time alert when foraging far from shrub or tree cover.’
    • ‘They were followed by a guinea pig, a hedgehog, a manatee, and a whale, which are considered to be the core member species of the mammalian radiation.’
    • ‘In addition we are raising eight sheep, a llama, a dog, two rabbits, a rat, and a guinea pig.’
    • ‘The animals, a meerkat and a guinea pig, cannot bear to be apart from each other and whine uncontrollably when they are parted.’
    • ‘We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.’
    • ‘It is an advantage that Joanne will depend on, to pursue her career choice, when she is exiled from her father's laboratory for showing compassion by releasing a caged guinea pig.’
    • ‘Hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs were more represented amongst the under-11 owners.’
    • ‘As the water rose, the guinea pig rose too, although it ordinarily doesn't stand around on its hind legs, but rather squats like a hare or a rabbit.’
    • ‘And even though the guinea pig was ten times the size of a normal guinea pig, it accepted the carrot hungrily and walked off happily.’
    • ‘It seems that not all rodents in those days were cute little balls of fur like your daughter's guinea pig.’
    • ‘There was an uncleaned guinea pig cage in the corner, with a sleeping guinea pig living in its own filth.’
    • ‘The collection of paintings include performing horses, elephants, sheep, hyenas, snakes, birds and a guinea pig.’
    • ‘Most people are familiar with mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, which are commonly kept as pets.’
    • ‘We have two kids (boy and girl, ages 10 and 12), a dog, a guinea pig, and a South African claw-toed frog.’
    • ‘Yes, she did, but it was not a guinea pig, it was a cat.’
  • 2A person or thing used as a subject for experiment.

    ‘we were used as guinea pigs to test the effects of radiation on human beings’
    ‘the school is a guinea pig for the national initiative’
    • ‘Walker volunteered to act as a human guinea pig for these experiments, as did 400m runner Mark Richardson and one other athlete.’
    • ‘The early study of carbon dioxide also gave rise to the expression to be a guinea pig, meaning to subject oneself to an experiment.’
    • ‘The worst was when you became a guinea pig for a hazardous experiment, and not even the lightest punishment was endurable.’
    • ‘Lucy was beginning to feel like a guinea pig for a scientific experiment.’
    • ‘No community in America deserves to be the guinea pig for social experimentation in the care and feeding of violent sex criminals.’
    • ‘The Dutch government is volunteering as a guinea pig.’
    • ‘To find out how it worked, my husband David, a senior manager of an internet company, volunteered to be the guinea pig for Just the Job.’
    • ‘I'm going to be a guinea pig in a kind of experiment, he tells me.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Fiona patiently served time as his food-tasting guinea pig and joined him on rare holidays to France to sample that nation's culinary secrets.’
    • ‘Nicaragua has been a hapless guinea pig for a neo-liberal and neo-conservative experiment - if one can call it that.’
    • ‘He made an experiment using his body as the guinea pig.’
    • ‘The way I was planning this spiritual experiment, I would have been the sole guinea pig.’
    • ‘I decided to conduct an experiment, as both scientist and guinea pig.’
    • ‘A cancer sufferer from Greater Manchester, for whom all conventional treatments have failed, has volunteered to become the world's first guinea pig for a possible new cure.’
    • ‘But the guinea pigs in this experiment are human beings.’
    • ‘Soldiers, as if they don't have enough to worry about, are often the guinea pigs for military experiments.’
    • ‘Many works depict the artists themselves as guinea pigs undergoing experiments such as hypnosis.’
    • ‘I feel as though our children are being used as guinea pigs for a scientific experiment.’
    • ‘After all, we do not want to use ‘real-life’ pupils as guinea pigs for educational experiments.’
    • ‘Were HIV-positive infants and children in the Manhattan foster care system used as guinea pigs in medical experiments?’
    subject, participant, case, client, patient


Mid 17th century from Guinea + pig; the term Guinea was probably a designation for an unknown distant country. Use in guinea pig (sense 2) arose in the 1920s in reference to the animal's use in laboratory research.


guinea pig

/ˈɡɪni pɪɡ/