civ·​et | \ ˈsi-vət How to pronounce civet (audio) \

Definition of civet

1 : any of various Old World carnivorous viverrid mammals with long bodies, short legs, and a usually long tail
2 : 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

Illustration of civet

civet 1

Examples of civet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One of the most coveted varieties comes from the feces of an Asian palm civet. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "21 Surprising Coffee Facts That Will Perk Up Your Afternoon," 3 Dec. 2018 Of those species, the following were judged suitable to be kept as a pet: Sika deer, agile wallaby, tammar wallaby, llama and Asian palm civet, the study found. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "First pets around the world: Puppies, bunnies -- or beetles," 24 May 2018 Lions, cheetahs and leopards may be spotted during the day, while night brings out a parade of smaller carnivores, including serval, genets, civets, pale foxes and honey badgers. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, "In Chad, the Elephants (So Many Elephants) Are Back," 14 May 2018 Her menagerie over the years included a warthog named Grunter and a civet fond of being sprinkled with Old Spice shaving lotion. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Daphne Sheldrick Built an Orphanage to Raise Baby Elephants in Kenya," 20 Apr. 2018 This respiratory disease, which has been found in civets, a cat-like or fox-like animal found in Asia and Africa, sickened 7,667 people, killing 718. Mark Johnson,, "The hunt for a future killer," 15 Dec. 2017 The brew’s distinction has to do with how the beans are sourced—from the feces of the civet, a coffee-loving catlike animal found in the wild, whose digestion process is said to improve the taste. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Enjoy That Cup of Coffee! Your Total Comes to $55," 16 Oct. 2017 The prohibition of caged civets is specifically singled out in the SAN guidelines for coffee in Indonesia. National Geographic, "The Disturbing Secret Behind the World’s Most Expensive Coffee," 29 Apr. 2016 These Southeast Asian mammals are actually related to small forest predators like fossas, civets, and genets. National Geographic, "Why This Animal's Pee Smells Like Hot Buttered Popcorn," 23 Apr. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civet

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for civet

Middle French civette, from Old Italian zibetto, from Arabic zabād civet perfume

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Dictionary Entries near civet

Ciudad Victoria




civet bean

civet cat


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The first known use of civet was in 1532

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English Language Learners Definition of civet

: 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


civ·​et | \ ˈsiv-ət How to pronounce civet (audio) \

Medical Definition of civet

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

More from Merriam-Webster on civet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with civet Encyclopedia article about civet

Comments on civet

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a small bunch of flowers

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