a. Any of various catlike mammals of the family Viverridae of Africa and Asia, having anal scent glands that secrete a fluid with a musky odor. Also called civet cat.
b. The thick yellowish musky fluid secreted by one of these mammals, used in the manufacture of perfumes.
c. The fur of one of these mammals.
2. The palm civet of Africa.
[French civette, from Old French, from Catalan civetta, from Medieval Latin zibethus, from Arabic zabād, civet perfume.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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