African wildcat


Definition of African wildcat

: a slender-tailed wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) of Africa and the Middle East that has a usually buff, gray, or brown coat and is typically considered to be the ancestor of the domestic cat Most people seeing an African wildcat would indeed think “pussycat.”— Stephen Budiansky, Atlantic Monthly, June 2002 A variant of the African wildcat, domestic cats probably first cozied up to humans in Egypt several thousand years ago. They populated the globe by riding the coattails of trade and empire.— Bruce Barcott, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2007

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of African wildcat

1853, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about African wildcat

Time Traveler for African wildcat

Time Traveler

The first known use of African wildcat was in 1853

See more words from the same year

Statistics for African wildcat

Cite this Entry

“African wildcat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

Comments on African wildcat

What made you want to look up African wildcat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!