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A small burrowing mongoose (Suricata suricatta) of southern Africa, having brownish-gray fur and a long tail, which it uses for balance when it stands on its hind legs. Also called suricate.

[Afrikaans, from Middle Dutch meercatte, monkey, perhaps a compound of meer, sea (because monkeys came to Europe from overseas); see mori- in Indo-European roots + catte, cat (from Germanic *kattuz); see cat, or perhaps a folk-etymological alteration of an Indic word akin to Marathi mākaḍ, monkey (from Middle Indic makkaṭa-, from Sanskrit markaṭaḥ, perhaps of Dravidian origin and akin to Kannada maṅga).]


(Animals) any of several South African mongooses, esp Suricata suricatta (slender-tailed meerkat or suricate), which has a lemur-like face and four-toed feet
[C19: from Dutch: sea-cat]


(ˈsʊər ɪˌkeɪt)

a small burrowing South African colonial viverrid, Suricata suricatta, related to the mongooses.
Also called meerkat.
[1775–85; earlier surikate < French < Dutch surikat macaque]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.meerkat - a mongoose-like viverrine of South Africa having a face like a lemur and only four toesmeerkat - a mongoose-like viverrine of South Africa having a face like a lemur and only four toes
viverrine, viverrine mammal - small cat-like predatory mammals of warmer parts of the Old World
slender-tailed meerkat, Suricata suricatta - a meerkat with a thin and elongated tail
Suricata tetradactyla, suricate - burrowing diurnal meerkat of southern Africa; often kept as a pet
References in periodicals archive ?
Meerkats can be found across the woody scrublands of southern Africa.
MEERKATS Sergei and Aleksandr have landed themselves a new squeeze, and it is none other than Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman.
Zoo team manager David White said: "It's great to have some new additions amongst our mob of meerkats.
THE twenty one meerkats living at DZG have been introduced to a new healthy diet to keep them fit and improve their dental hygiene.
Monty is a most magnificent lion, with a mane he is proud of, in which his friends the little meerkats like to play and hide.
The children at both schools were excited about the opportunity to name the meerkats and asked many questions about their habitat, health and life in the wild.
Because meerkats live in large family groups in the wild, Kirkleatham staff are confident they will fit in.
To see if the meerkats were really learning from the process, the researchers fed two groups of pups for 3 days.
SANTA BARBARA - Five meerkats that were loaned, lost and finally found in Texas will be returned today to their rightful home at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
With the launch of the new series of adverts, Aleksandr fans will have the chance to get to know a whole new collection of meerkats throughout 2011.
David White, team manager at the zoo, said: "It's great to have some lively new additions among our mob of meerkats.
e year three students visited DZG from their Bilston school to nd out more about meerkats after adopting dominant female Mabel.