Origin of meerkat

Dutch: literally, monkey, apparently equivalent to meer (see mere2) + kat cat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for meerkat

Historical Examples of meerkat

  • The astonishment of dogs in England at a meerkat brought home by us was most amusing.

  • The last of the civet-like animals about which we can tell you is the meerkat, sometimes known as the suricate.

  • Often, when starting for a ride or drive, we have been obliged to shut up our meerkat, so determined was he to come with us.

  • This meerkat, the largest and handsomest we have ever seen, cannot have been anything less than the chief of his tribe.

  • I would still redeem my pledge, and restore Meerkat, so lost not a moment in turning back to release the other two.

    A Veldt Vendetta

    Bertram Mitford

British Dictionary definitions for meerkat



any of several South African mongooses, esp Suricata suricatta (slender-tailed meerkat or suricate), which has a lemur-like face and four-toed feet

Word Origin for meerkat

C19: from Dutch: sea-cat
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 meerkat

late 15c., "monkey," from Dutch meerkat "monkey" (related to Old High German mericazza), apparently from meer "lake" + kat "cat." But cf. Hindi markat, Sanskrit markata "ape," which might serve as a source of a Teutonic folk-etymology, even though the word was in Germanic before any known direct contact with India. First applied to the small South African mammals in 1801.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper