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guinea pig

Guinea pigs have long been used in laboratory tests and experiments, though they have largely been replaced by rats and mice in more recent years.
1. noun Someone or something used as the subject of an experiment. Jane used her husband as a guinea pig to try her new baked chicken recipe. Craig earned a little extra money by signing up to be a guinea pig in some local clinical studies.
2. verb To test something out, especially when its quality or effects are uncertain or unknown. I would avoid guinea pigging anything Jane makes—she's a terrible cook. Don't guinea pig this eyebrow dye, unless you're OK with potentially looking ridiculous.
3. verb To be subjected to medical tests that are experimental or unproven. A: "You could guinea-pig to pay for your college tuition." B: "No way—it freaks me out too much." Did you really agree to guinea-pig this new drug trial?
See also: guinea, pig


slang The act or practice of subjecting someone or oneself to medical tests that are experimental or unproven. I considered guinea-pigging to pay for my college tuition, but I just couldn't do it—it freaked me out too much. Guinea-pigging is the only way for us to test this new drug before bringing it to market.

serve as a/(one's) guinea pig

To act or function as the object of a test, experiment, or assessment. We'll have a limited release of the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig. If it is received well, we can expand production and distribution to the rest of the country. A: "I have a wild new dish I'd like you to try!" B: "No way! I have no interest in serving as your guinea pig again."
See also: guinea, pig, serve

use (someone or something) as a guinea pig

Guinea pigs have long been used in laboratory tests and experiments, though they have largely been replaced by rats and mice in more recent years.
1. To subject someone or something to medical tests that are experimental or unproven. A: "No way would I let a pharmaceutical company use me as a guinea pig for some weird new drug!" B: "Scoff if you like, but it's paying for my college tuition!" The cosmetics industry has long been under fire for using live animals as guinea pigs while developing new products.
2. To use someone or something as a gauge by which to judge the results of some new product, process, program, etc.; to test something out on someone or something. The company plans to use a small group of participants as guinea pigs for its experimental new augmented reality technology. The government is using the region as a guinea pig to see if such a major upheaval in the tax system might be sustainable.
See also: guinea, pig, use
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Serve as a guinea pig

Fig. [for someone] to be experimented on; to allow some sort of test to be performed on one. (Alludes to the use of guinea pigs for biological experiments.) Try it on someone else! I don't want to serve as a guinea pig! Jane agreed to serve as a guinea pig. She'll be the one to try out the new flavor of ice cream.
See also: guinea, pig, serve
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

a guinea pig

COMMON If someone is used as a guinea pig, new ideas, methods, or medical treatments are tested on them. The new technology should allow us to study genetic disease without having to use humans as guinea pigs. This is the first time I've cooked this dish so you are my guinea pigs.
See also: guinea, pig
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˈguinea pig

a person used in medical or other experiments: Students in fifty schools are to act as guinea pigs for these new teaching methods.
A guinea pig is a small animal with short ears and no tail, often kept as a pet or used for laboratory research.
See also: guinea, pig
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Kovind also expressed satisfaction on the progress of work on the lines of credit earlier extended to Guinea, including two regional hospitals, the Ministry added.
Guinea pigs can make fantastic pets but like all animals they have very complex needs and should never be the sole responsibility of a child.
It is safe to assume that guinea fowl eggs are an important source of dietary cholesterol and theorized to contain slightly more cholesterol than domestic chicken, but a lot less than duck, goose and turkey and quail eggs.
"If someone has lost a guinea pig and it's showing signs of being very down, off its food, then that's where I come in.
Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali were greeted by several Malaysian businessmen from the Malaysian Association of Papua New Guinea at the red carpet in front of the Stanley Hotel here.
A Blue Faced Leicester ram lamb from Scott Thomason, Piel View Flock, Barrow-in-Furness, sold for 5,000 guineas.
GEpetrol was established as the National Oil Company of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea by Presidential Decree on August 27, 2001 and became operational in January 2002.
Ms Tshiamonyane explained that keeping guinea fowls was a challenge as they eat more compared to chickens, adding that she has resorted to working for Ipelegeng to be able to feed the guinea fowls.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is in the country for a state visit.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki has received a WHO certificate declaring Kenya free of Guinea worm infections.
The Philippines is targeting to ship more farm goods to Papua New Guinea in a bid to revive its dormant trade activities with the tiny Pacific country.