A chupacabra is a mythological creature from Latin America, so it makes sense that the origin would be from Spanish. However, grammatical errors over time failed to take into account that the correct singular in Spanish is chupacabras, with an s. Minor errors aside, since the chupacabra is infamous for murdering goats, it is not that surprising either that it the word for it is a portmanteau of chupar ("to suck") and cabras ("goats"). Literally: goatsucker. Chupar is reportedly of onomatopoeic origin, though this is unconfirmed. It may also be of imitative origin. Cabras, on the other hand, is more clearly traced, deriving from the Latin word capra, specifically meaning "a female goat". This then makes a gender change to mean "he-goat" in Latin as caper, and is ultimately from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root kapros, also "male goat". Not much semantic change there, but curious enough!
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd