fen·​nec ˈfe-nik How to pronounce fennec (audio)
: a small pale-fawn fox (Vulpes zerda synonym Fennecus zerda) with large ears that inhabits the deserts of northern Africa and Arabia

Examples of fennec in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Beyond making these tiny, Chihuahua-sized foxes inimitably adorable, their disproportionately huge ears serve to keep the fennec from overheating by dissipating body heat. Discover Magazine, 15 Sep. 2014 The large ears of a fennec fox would be a liability in a cold climate like where the arctic fox lives. Bridget B. Baker, Discover Magazine, 21 Jan. 2019 Bronx Tales Staff becomes concerned when a fennec fox is diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2021 The team’s tested the trunk on birds, sand cats and fennec foxes so far. Sarah Haselhorst, Cincinnati.com, 8 June 2020 In 2015, both a Great Dane dog and fennec fox were found to have eyes crusted with green mucus. Tessa Duvall, The Courier-Journal, 7 Feb. 2020 Many desert animals, such as the fennec fox, are nocturnal, coming out to hunt only when the brutal sun has descended. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, 12 June 2019 The event also featured a lemur, two macaws, and an African fennec fox. CBS News, 14 May 2018 In addition to the caged tiger, school officials said a lemur, two macaws and an African fennec fox were also on site. Fiza Pirani, ajc, 14 May 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fennec.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Arabic fanak

First Known Use

1790, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fennec was in 1790

Dictionary Entries Near fennec

Cite this Entry

“Fennec.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fennec. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


fen·​nec ˈfen-ik How to pronounce fennec (audio)
: a small African fox with large ears

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