ser·​val | \ ˈsər-vəl How to pronounce serval (audio) , (ˌ)sər-ˈval\

Definition of serval

: a long-legged African wildcat (Felis serval) having large ears and a tawny black-spotted coat

Illustration of serval

Illustration of serval

Examples of serval in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That was the case with a serval, another small African cat that is extremely shy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "For San Diego Zoo visitors, Sundown Summer Safari gives something extra," 22 June 2019 Scientist and photographer Jeffrey Kerby, who spent almost a decade working at the gelada project, once watched a tawny serval make off with a baby monkey. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "These tough-looking monkeys eke out a living at 11,000 feet," 28 Mar. 2019 Wilson said because servals like Juno are very fast, the best way to catch him would be using a tranquilizer. Ivana Hrynkiw,, "Woman searching for African serval missing in Pelham," 1 May 2018 The Milwaukee County Zoo hasn't had a serval since 1993. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With ears like satellite dishes, serval cat makes Milwaukee County Zoo debut along with Malayan chevrotains," 18 Jan. 2018 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 Family owned and operated for 25 years, Bear Den has beloved and familiar farm animals in addition to exotic animals like servals, lynx and lemurs. Ty Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A closer look at 4 fall farms to visit with your family," 29 Sep. 2017 Felicia Wilson posted on social media Monday, asking for help locating her African serval. Ivana Hrynkiw,, "Woman searching for African serval missing in Pelham," 1 May 2018 Smaller wildcats in captivity, such as servals or ocelots, are often fed a domestic cat-like diet, while big cats such as jaguars and leopards get meat and animal carcasses. National Geographic, "Do Big Cats Get Hairballs?," 17 Mar. 2018

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

1771, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for serval

French, from Portuguese lobo cerval lynx, from Medieval Latin lupus cervalis, literally, deerlike wolf

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Dictionary Entries near serval

serum sickness







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Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for serval

The first known use of serval was in 1771

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More from Merriam-Webster on serval

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with serval Encyclopedia article about serval

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