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 the Appendix of 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).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus