n. pl. tab·bies
1. A rich watered silk.
2. A fabric of plain weave.
a. A domestic cat with a coat that has stripes or swirls of darker fur on a lighter background.
b. A domestic cat, especially a female.
4. A spinster.
5. A prying woman; a gossip.
6. South Atlantic US A mixture of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water used as a building material.
1. Having light and dark striped or swirled markings: a Maine coon with a tabby pattern.
2. Made of or resembling watered silk.
[French tabis, from Old French atabis, from Medieval Latin attabī, from Arabic 'attābī, after al-'Attābīya, a suburb of Baghdad, Iraq.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.