- a yellowish, unctuous substance with a strong musklike odor, obtained from a pouch in the genital region of civets and used in perfumery.
- any catlike, carnivorous mammal of the subfamily Viverrinae, chiefly of southern Asia and Africa, having a coarse-haired, spotted coat, rounded ears, and a narrow muzzle.
- any of various related or similar animals, as the palm civet.
Origin of civet
Examples from the Web for civet
But it is very improper for such folk to smear themselves with civet.Albert Durer
T. Sturge Moore
Of civet and scimitar I believe it can only be asserted that they are Eastern.English Past and Present
Richard Chevenix Trench
I will ask you then, for your own account, Mr. Leroux, of the arrival of the woman in the civet furs.The Yellow Claw
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.Familiar Quotations
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, says Shakspeare.
- any catlike viverrine mammal of the genus Viverra and related genera, of Africa and S Asia, typically having blotched or spotted fur and secreting a powerfully smelling fluid from anal glands
- the yellowish fatty secretion of such an animal, used as a fixative in the manufacture of perfumes
- the fur of such an animal
- short for palm civet
Word Origin and History for civet
1530s, from Middle French civette (15c.), ultimately (with Italian zibetto, Medieval Latin zibethum, Medieval Greek zapetion) via lost intermediate forms from Arabic zabad "civet," said to be related to zabad "foam, froth," zubd "cream."