[ mong-goos, mon- ]
/ ˈmɒŋˌgus, ˈmɒn- /

noun, plural mon·goos·es.

a slender, ferretlike carnivore, Herpestes edwardsi, of India, that feeds on rodents, birds, and eggs, noted especially for its ability to kill cobras and other venomous snakes.
any of several other animals of this genus or related genera.

Nearby words

  1. mongolian spot,
  2. mongolic,
  3. mongolism,
  4. mongoloid,
  5. mongols,
  6. mongrel,
  7. mongrelize,
  8. mongrelly,
  9. mongst,
  10. mongu

Origin of mongoose

1690–1700; < Marathi mangūs, variant of muṅgūs Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mongoose

British Dictionary definitions for mongoose


/ (ˈmɒŋˌɡuːs) /

noun plural -gooses

any small predatory viverrine mammal of the genus Herpestes and related genera, occurring in Africa and from S Europe to SE Asia, typically having a long tail and brindled coat

Word Origin for mongoose

C17: from Marathi mangūs, of Dravidian origin

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 mongoose



"snake-killing ichneumon of India," 1690s, perhaps via Portuguese, from an Indic language (cf. Mahrathi mangus "mongoose"), probably ultimately from Dravidian (cf. Telugu mangisu, Kanarese mungisi, Tamil mangus). The form of the English word altered by folk-etymology.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper