Definition of paca in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpäkə/ /ˈpɑkə/ /ˈpakə/ /ˈpækə/


  • A nocturnal South American rodent that has a reddish-brown coat patterned with rows of white spots. It is hunted for its edible flesh.

    Genus Cuniculus, family Dasyproctidae: two species, in particular A. paca

    ‘We saw squirrel monkeys, capuchins, spider monkeys, peccaries, kinkajous, coatis, howler monkeys, tayras - a large mustelid that Martyn thought was a tree otter - pacas, night monkeys, giant anteaters and a tapir.’
    Also called spotted cavy
    • ‘Eight other species, including pacas, pacaranas, spiny rats and porcupines, also steal Brazil nuts stored by agoutis.’
    • ‘Agoutis are smaller than their relatives the piglike pacas and larger than squirrels, which they resemble.’
    • ‘What she finds stuffed into its pens and cages, or tethered nearby, is a fair representation of Nicaragua's jungle wildlife: scores of parrots and parakeets, pacas, an ocelot cub, deer yearlings, a spider monkey.’
    • ‘It is an unfortunate and potentially confusing accident of taxonomy that agoutis do not belong to the family Agoutidae, which instead contains their relatives, the pacas.’


Mid 17th century via Spanish and Portuguese from Tupi.