• synonyms


[os-uh-lot, oh-suh-]
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  1. a spotted leopardlike cat, Felis pardalis, ranging from Texas through South America: now greatly reduced in number and endangered in the U.S.
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Origin of ocelot

1765–75; < French, apparently arbitrary shortening of Nahuatl tlālōcēlōtl ocelot, equivalent to tlāl(li) earth, land + ōcēlōtl jaguar
Related formsoc·e·loid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ocelot

Historical Examples

  • It was, as had been supposed, an ocelot, the most beautiful creature of that region.

    In the Wilds of Florida

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • This is well shown in the ocelot, Fig. 15, and in many other cats.

  • "The Ocelot bounds away too quickly," he observed, as if offended.

  • The ocelot is next only to the jaguar in ferocity and daring.

  • America has several Tiger-Cats, foremost amongst which may be mentioned the Ocelot.

    The Book of Cats

    Charles H. Ross

British Dictionary definitions for ocelot


  1. a feline mammal, Felis pardalis, inhabiting the forests of Central and South America and having a dark-spotted buff-brown coat
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Word Origin

C18: via French from Nahuatl ocelotl jaguar
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 ocelot


"large wildcat of Central and South America," 1775, from French ocelot, a word formed by French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), from Nahuatl ocelotl "jaguar" (in full tlalocelotl, a compound formed with tlalli "field").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper