The name "giraffe" has its earliest known origins in the Arabic word zarāfah(زرافة),perhaps borrowed from the animal's Somali name geri. The Arab name is translated as "fast-walker". There were several Middle English spellings, such as jarraf, ziraph, and gerfauntz. The Italian form giraffa arose in the 1590s. The modern English form developed around 1600 from the French girafe. "Camelopard" is an archaic English name for the giraffe deriving from the Ancient Greek for camel and leopard, referring to its camel-like shape and its leopard-like colouring.
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