gen·​et | \ ˈje-nət How to pronounce genet (audio) \

Definition of genet

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: any of a genus (Genetta) of small Old World usually carnivorous viverrid mammals related to the civets and having retractile claws, spotted or striped fur, and a ringed tail


biographical name (1)
Ge·​net | \ zhə-ˈnā How to pronounce Genet (audio) \

Definition of Genet (Entry 2 of 3)

Edmond-Charles-Édouard 1763–1834 Citizen Genet French diplomat in U.S.


biographical name (2)

Definition of Genet (Entry 3 of 3)

Jean 1910–1986 French dramatist and novelist

Examples of genet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Predators include mongooses, genets, jackals, domestic dogs and cats, owls, and snakes. National Geographic, "Bush babies," 19 Nov. 2019 Federal officials said inspectors identified the skins were from bushbucks, a species of antelope in sub-Saharan Africa, and from genets and civets, small catlike mammals. Washington Post, "No, you can’t bring African animal skins, heads, or giant African land snail shells to the U.S. and call them ‘drums and clothes’," 11 Oct. 2019 The skins and heads were identified as being from the bushback species of antelope, and genet and civet, which are cat-like mammals, according to CBP and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inspectors. Fox News, "African cat skins, antelope head, giant snail shells confiscated by US Customs," 11 Oct. 2019 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

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

See More

First Known Use of genet


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for genet


Middle English genete, from Anglo-French, ultimately from Arabic jarnayṭ

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about genet

Time Traveler for genet

Time Traveler

The first known use of genet was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for genet

Cite this Entry

“Genet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on genet Encyclopedia article about genet

Comments on genet

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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