mon·​goose | \ ˈmän-ˌgüs How to pronounce mongoose (audio) , ˈmäŋ- How to pronounce mongoose (audio) \
plural mongooses also mongeese\ ˈmän-​ˌgēs How to pronounce mongoose (audio) , ˈmäŋ-​ \

Definition of mongoose

: any of numerous long slender carnivorous mammals (family Herpestidae) chiefly of Africa and southern Europe and Asia that are usually ferret-sized agile mammals typically with nonretractile sharp claws, short legs, long tail, and usually brownish or grayish fur sometimes with bands or stripes

Note: Mongooses feed chiefly on small animals (such as insects, earthworms, birds, snakes, and rodents) and are sometimes grouped with the viverrids in two subfamilies (Herpestinae and Galidiinae).

Illustration of mongoose

Illustration of mongoose

Examples of mongoose in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Liberia is home to more than 40 percent of West Africa’s forests and houses some of the world’s rarest animal species, including the Liberian mongoose and pygmy hippos. Wufei Yu, Outside Online, 24 June 2020 And then there’s the mongoose, with a height typically under two feet. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 20 Apr. 2022 By comparison, the far-more-ancient Diegoaelurus was much smaller, about the size of a bobcat, and similar in style to the fossa of Madagascar, a cousin to the mongoose, Poust said. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Mar. 2022 Researchers say the two limestone sphinxes depicted Amenhotep in a mongoose headdress, sporting a beard and broad necklace, per the statement. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Jan. 2022 There is also a minor epidemic of troll players wielding two rattan Kali sticks that seem to grant them the speed of a mongoose that’s been mainlining methamphetamines. Washington Post, 3 Dec. 2021 Most unusual picks: fossa (a mongoose relative) and axolotl (a type of salamander). Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 Challender says pangolins play a vital role in their environment, by controlling insect populations and with their burrows providing shelter for creatures including bats, snakes and mongoose. Nadia Leigh-hewitson, CNN, 15 June 2021 When mongoose mothers are expecting, many will give birth on the same night. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 26 June 2021 See More

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

1673, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mongoose

Hindi & Marathi mãgūs, from Prakrit maṁgūsa

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The first known use of mongoose was in 1673

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mongoose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mongoose


mon·​goose | \ ˈmän-ˌgüs How to pronounce mongoose (audio) , ˈmäŋ-ˌgüs \
plural mongooses

Kids Definition of mongoose

: a long thin furry animal with sharp claws that eats small animals (as snakes and mice), eggs, and fruit

More from Merriam-Webster on mongoose

Nglish: Translation of mongoose for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mongoose


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