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[rab-ee, ruh-bat]
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noun Ecclesiastical.
  1. a sleeveless, backless, vestlike garment extending to the waist, worn by a cleric beneath the clerical collar, especially in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.

Origin of rabat1

From Middle French, dating back to 1860–65; see origin at rebate1
Also called rabbi.


[rab-uh t]
  1. a piece of unglazed and imperfectly fired pottery, used for polishing hard surfaces.

Origin of rabat2

< French, Middle French. See rebate1


[rah-baht, ruh-]
  1. a seaport in and the capital of Morocco, in the NW part.


  1. French Maroc. Spanish Marruecos. a kingdom in NW Africa: formed from a sultanate that was divided into two protectorates (French Morocco and Spanish Morocco) and an international zone. 172,104 sq. mi. (445,749 sq. km). Capital: Rabat.Compare Tangier Zone.
  2. former name of Marrakesh.
  3. (lowercase) a fine, pebble-grained leather, originally made in Morocco from goatskin tanned with sumac.
  4. (lowercase) any leather made in imitation of this.
Also called morocco leather (for defs 3, 4).
Related formsMo·roc·can [muh-rok-uh n] /məˈrɒk ən/, adjective, nounpro-Mo·roc·can, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rabat


  1. the capital of Morocco, in the northwest on the Atlantic coast, served by the port of Salé: became a military centre in the 12th century and a Corsair republic in the 17th century. Pop: 673 000 (2003)


    1. a fine soft leather made from goatskins, used for bookbinding, shoes, etc
    2. (as modifier)morocco leather

Word Origin

C17: after Morocco, where it was originally made


  1. a kingdom in NW Africa, on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: conquered by the Arabs in about 683, who introduced Islam; at its height under Berber dynasties (11th–13th centuries); became a French protectorate in 1912 and gained independence in 1956. It is mostly mountainous, with the Atlas Mountains in the centre and the Rif range along the Mediterranean coast, with the Sahara in the south and southeast; an important exporter of phosphates. Official language: Arabic; Berber and French are also widely spoken. Official religion: (Sunni) Muslim. Currency: dirham. Capital: Rabat. Pop: 32 649 130 (2013 est). Area: 458 730 sq km (177 117 sq miles)French name: Maroc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rabat


Moroccan capital, from Arabic ar-ribat, from ribat "fortified monastery."



"kind of fine flexible leather," 1630s, short for Morocco leather, from Morocco, the country in northwest Africa, where the tanned leather first was made.


country in northwest Africa, from Italian, from Berber Marrakesh (properly the name of the city of Marrakesh), from Arabic Maghrib-al-Aqca "Extreme West." Cf. French Maroc, German Marokko. In English, the first vowel has been altered, apparently by influence of Moor. Related: Moroccan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rabat in Culture


Kingdom in northwestern Africa with coasts on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; it is bordered by Algeria to the east and the western Sahara to the south. Its largest city is Casablanca, and its capital is Rabat.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.