noun \ˈsi-vət\

: a wild animal that is like a cat and that has a long body, short legs, and a long tail

: a substance from the body of the civet that has a strong smell and is sometimes used to make perfume

Full Definition of CIVET

:  any of various Old World carnivorous viverrid mammals with long bodies, short legs, and a usually long tail
:  a thick yellowish musky-odored substance found in a sac near the anus of the civet (especially genera Civettictis, Viverra, and Viverricula) and used in perfume

Illustration of CIVET

Origin of CIVET

Middle French civette, from Old Italian zibetto, from Arabic zabād civet perfume
First Known Use: 1532

Other Mammals Terms

dormouse, dugong, gibbon, grimalkin, sable, stoat, ungulate, vole

Rhymes with CIVET


noun \ˈsiv-ət\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of CIVET

: a thick yellowish musky-odored substance found in a pouch near the sexual organs of the civet cat and used in perfume


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

African palm civet (Nandinia binotata).—Robert C. Hermes from the National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers

Any of 15–20 species of long-bodied, short-legged carnivores (family Viverridae) found in Africa, southern Europe, and Asia. Catlike in appearance, civets have a thickly furred tail, small ears, and pointed snout. Civets are commonly buff or grayish, with black spots or stripes or both. They range in length from 16 to 34 in. (40–85 cm), excluding the 5–26-in. (13–66-cm) tail, and in weight from 3.3 to 24 lbs (1.5–11 kg). Civets mark territories with a greasy, musklike secretion (called civet) stored in a pouch under the tail; civet is sometimes used in the manufacture of perfumes. Usually solitary, civets feed on small animals and on vegetable matter. Five species are considered in possible danger of extinction.


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