meer·​kat | \ˈmir-ˌkat \

Definition of meerkat 

: any of several African mongooses especially : a burrowing highly social primarily insectivorous mammal (Suricata suricatta) of southern Africa that is chiefly grayish with faint black markings and lives in usually large colonies

Illustration of meerkat

Illustration of meerkat

Examples of meerkat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That idea never sat very well with researchers studying species such as meerkats, Lukas contends. Tim Vernimmen, Scientific American, "Babysitting Mammals Keep It in the Family," 20 June 2018 At the African Savannah exhibit, Fort Worth Zoo visitors can feed giraffes, watch hippos glide through a pool, play peek-a-boo with meerkats and talk to a variety of other animals, bird and fish. Bud Kennedy, star-telegram, "Tortas, huaraches and green sauce at a little cafe in Grapevine | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 16 May 2018 But the bloodiest, most homicidal of more than 1,000 species surveyed is the meerkat. Ben Guarino, Anchorage Daily News, "The world’s most murderous mammal is probably not what you think it is," 30 Sep. 2016 Among the other animals along the trail are meerkats and western lowland gorillas. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney: Youngest zebras now 'on stage' at Animal Kingdom," 13 June 2018 Adult female meerkats who don't become queen wind up as her ladies-in-waiting. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "A New Book Looks at What Life Is Like for Moms across the Animal Kingdom," 1 May 2018 No surprise there—meerkats are desperately nervous creatures. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "We Went on a Meerkat Safari and Loved It," 24 Apr. 2018 The meerkats killed in the blaze were all brothers. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "13 monkeys latest victims of spate of British fires," 2 Jan. 2018 The area is decorated with rock and glass aggregate that sparkles, and depictions of animals like meerkats and macaws are scattered throughout. Lori Weisberg,, "Rex the lion returns to SD Zoo — in bronze," 25 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meerkat.' 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 meerkat

1801, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for meerkat

Afrikaans, from Dutch, a kind of monkey, from Middle Dutch meercatte monkey, from meer sea + catte cat

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about meerkat

Statistics for meerkat

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for meerkat

The first known use of meerkat was in 1801

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on meerkat

See words that rhyme with meerkat Encyclopedia article about meerkat

Comments on meerkat

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


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!