ser·​val ˈsər-vəl How to pronounce serval (audio)
: a long-legged African wildcat (Felis serval) having large ears and a tawny black-spotted coat

Illustration of serval

Illustration of serval

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In January, MSPCA-Angell took in a wild serval cat found wandering the streets of Lincoln, Massachusetts, and cared for the animal until the Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota offered to provide the feline an appropriate, full-time home. Kelli Bender,, 21 June 2022 Another new resident at the sanctuary is Jake, an African serval who was rescued from Rock Creek Farm in Norman, Okla., after the Oklahoma Board of Medical Examiners filed a complaint against the owner. Monica Hooper, Arkansas Online, 24 Mar. 2022 After the serval was out of the house, Frank called animal control. Vanessa Etienne,, 7 July 2021 According to the outlet, Frank found a serval — a wild cat native to Africa sometimes kept as an exotic pet — in her bed. Vanessa Etienne,, 7 July 2021 The animal has since been identified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as a serval, which is usually a wild cat native to Africa. Hayley Vaughn, NBC News, 6 July 2021 No one was hurt and her husband snapped a photo of the serval and shared it with state authorities, according to local Georgia ABC affiliate WSB-TV. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 3 July 2021 Prygoski says anyone who sees the serval should stay away from the cat and contact animal control or the DNR. Rachel Trent, CNN, 3 July 2021 Firefighters got the fire under control within 25 minutes, but at least one encountered the serval, a savannah wild cat native to Sub-Saharan Africa, and suffered injuries from a bite to the fingers. oregonlive, 18 Apr. 2021 See More

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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Word History


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

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of serval was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near serval

Cite this Entry

“Serval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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