Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. Any of numerous parasitic wasps of the family Ichneumonidae, with larvae that are parasitoids of other insects and females that have long ovipositors. Also called ichneumon fly.
2. See Egyptian mongoose.
[Latin ichneumōn, Egyptian mongoose, ichneumon fly, from Greek ikhneumōn, from ikhneuein, to track, from ikhnos, track, spoor, footprint, perhaps from oikhesthai, to have gone away, be gone, and akin to Armenian iǰanel, to come down, Old Irish óegi, guest, and Tocharian B yku, gone.]
(Animals) a mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, of Africa and S Europe, having greyish-brown speckled fur
[C16: via Latin from Greek, literally: tracker, hunter, from ikhneuein to track, from ikhnos a footprint; so named from the animal's alleged ability to locate the eggs of crocodiles]
ich•neu•mon(ɪkˈnu mən, -ˈnyu-)
1. a slender, long-tailed mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, of N Africa and S Europe, believed by the ancient Egyptians to devour crocodile eggs.
[1565–75; < Latin < Greek ichneúmōn tracker]