mongoose

noun
mon·​goose | \ ˈmän-ˌgüs How to pronounce mongoose (audio) , ˈmäŋ- How to pronounce mongoose (audio) \
plural mongooses also mongeese\ ˈmän-​ˌgēs How to pronounce mongeese (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 But rodents weren't the only thing mongooses would eat: birds, reptiles, fruits, and other native species proved tasty to these transplants, and they are now ensconced, unwanted residents in the Hawaiian wild. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Invasive species, explained," 5 June 2019 The mongoose was introduced to several islands in Hawaii and the West Indies to control the rodent populations on sugarcane plantations in the 1800s. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, "Invasive species, explained," 5 June 2019 Researchers have collected genetic evidence that these HEVs can also infect a variety of animals, including pigs, wild boar, deer, rabbits, mongoose, chickens, camels, ferrets, greater bandicoots, Asian musk shrew, mink, moose, and fish. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Rat hepatitis jumps to human for first time, spotlighting disease mystery," 2 Oct. 2018 The researchers studied eight different meat-eating animals, looking at the ferret, banded mongoose, raccoon, domestic cat, domestic dog, striped hyena, lion, and brown bear. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Study Says Dogs Are Actually Smarter Than Cats," 18 June 2018 Those pop-up protagonists, meerkats (which are not cats but a kind of mongoose, which is not nearly a goose) have a system in which only about one in six females can ever ascend to baby-bearing status. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "A New Book Looks at What Life Is Like for Moms across the Animal Kingdom," 1 May 2018 Watch the full clip of the mongoose and the hornbill below. Cady Lang, Time, "A Dwarf Mongoose Playing Dead Is Hilarious and Impressive at the Same Time," 6 Apr. 2018 On the Big Island, mongoose have proliferated, devastating local bird populations; so have Puerto Rican coquí frogs, which chirp abruptly and erratically at 90 decibels, like a mobile infestation of alarm clocks. Jennifer Kahn, New York Times, "Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?," 13 Mar. 2018 High up in the mountains, Grand Etang Forest Reserve is where to go for hiking, bird-watching, river tubing and meet-and-greets with critters like armadillos, mongoose and Mona monkeys. Melanie Reffes, USA TODAY, "Best Caribbean islands for nature lovers," 9 Apr. 2018

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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Time Traveler for mongoose

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The first known use of mongoose was in 1673

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Cite this Entry

“Mongoose.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mongoose. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for mongoose

mongoose

noun
How to pronounce mongoose (audio) How to pronounce mongoose (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mongoose

: a small and very fast animal from India that eats snakes and rodents

mongoose

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on mongoose

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mongoose

Spanish Central: Translation of mongoose

Nglish: Translation of mongoose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mongoose

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