meerkat(redirected from Mer cat)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
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]
a small burrowing South African colonial viverrid, Suricata suricatta, related to the mongooses.Also called meerkat.
[1775–85; earlier surikate < French < Dutch surikat macaque]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||meerkat - a mongoose-like viverrine of South Africa having a face like a lemur and only four toes|