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giraffe (n.)

long-necked ruminant animal of Africa, 1590s, giraffa, from Italian giraffa, from Arabic zarafa, probably from an African language. Earlier Middle English spellings varied wildly, depending on the foreign source, and included jarraf, ziraph, and gerfauntz, some apparently directly from Arabic, the last reflecting some confusion with olifaunt "elephant."

In Arabye, þei ben clept Gerfauntz; þat is a best pomelee or spotted .. but a lityll more high þan is a stede, But he hath the necke a xxti cubytes long. [Mandeville's Travels, c. 1425]

The modern form of the English word is attested by c. 1600 and is via French girafe (13c.). Replaced earlier camelopard (from Latin camelopardalis), which was the basis form the name of the "giraffe" constellation Camelopardalis, among those added to the map 1590s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius.

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camelopard (n.)
an old name for "giraffe," late 14c., from Late Latin camelopardus, shortened from Latin camelopardalis, from Greek kamelopardalis "a giraffe," a compound of kamelos "camel" (see camel), for the long neck, and pardos "leopard, panther" (see pard (n.1)), for the spots.
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okapi (n.)

short-necked, stripe-legged giraffe of central Africa, 1900, from the animal's name in Mbuba (Congo). Reported by English explorer Sir Harry Johnston.

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