- Also called African mongoose, Egyptian mongoose. a slender, long-tailed mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, inhabiting Africa and southern Europe, and believed by the ancient Egyptians to devour crocodile eggs.
- ichneumon fly.
Origin of ichneumon
Examples from the Web for ichneumon
He was just a shade too light for nature, and the ichneumon has a pretty sense of colour."Wee Tim'rous Beasties"
In Europe it is preyed upon by minute ichneumon flies (Chalcids).Our Common Insects
Alpheus Spring Packard
The ichneumon may be seen busily searching the bushes for her victim.The Dawn of Reason
“Oh, that plant that the ichneumon resorts to when bitten,” exclaimed Macallan.The King's Own
Captain Frederick Marryat
Buffon assumes that the Ichneumon has been brought to a state of domesticity.A World of Wonders
- a mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, of Africa and S Europe, having greyish-brown speckled fur
Word Origin and History for ichneumon
1570s, originally a weasel-like animal in Egypt, Latinized from Greek ikhneumon, literally "searcher, tracker," perhaps because it hunts crocodile eggs, from ikhneuein "hunt for, track," from ikhnos "a track, footstep, trace, clue," of unknown origin. Used by Aristotle for a species of wasp that hunts spiders (a sense in English from 1650s).