Guinea pig

Guin"ea pig`

[Prob. a mistake for Guiana pig.] 1. (Zol.) A small Brazilian rodent (Cavia porcellus or Cavia cobaya), about seven inches in length and usually of a white color, with spots of orange and black. Called also cavy. It is the domesticated form of the wild cavy, often kept as a pet and used commonly as an experimental animal in laboratory research.
[Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

2. Hence, [figuratively]: Any animal or person used in an experiment; -- also applied to people who are unwillingly or unknowingly subjected by authorities to policies or procedures which might cause bodily or mental harm.
[PJC]

3. A contemptuous sobriquet. [Obs.] Smollett
[Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]

 

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Tue 11th December 2018