One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal with a barred and spotted coat and well-developed anal scent glands, native to Africa and Asia.
- ‘So it's not a virus that every Himalayan palm civet has always had and is chronically infected with.’
- ‘On behalf of all civet cats I have to register a protest.’
- ‘This includes the civet cat which is known to be a carrier of the disease.’
- ‘On coffee plantations, palm civets dine heavily on coffee cherries.’
- ‘The main suspect to date is the civet cat, a cat-like mammal closely related to the mongoose.’
- 1.1mass noun A strong musky perfume obtained from the secretions of the civet's scent glands.
- ‘The secretion of these glands, called civet, is used as a perfume base and medicine..’
- ‘Silk, cotton, and velvet changed what people wore, and musk and civet altered the way that they smelt.’
- ‘Theatre became less serious and more sensational; the great national concerns gave way to domestic intrigue; the smell of cowslips and violets to musk and civet, if not in reality then in the imagery of the plays.’
- ‘In the sixteenth century, for example, pungent animal scents such as musk and civet were very popular.’
- ‘During the Renaissances strong scents of animal origin, including musk, civet and ambergris, were popular, but by the late 18th century these were consider too strong, too beastly.’
2US The ring-tailed cat or cacomistle.
Mid 16th century: from French civette, from Italian zibetto, from medieval Latin zibethum, from Arabic zabād, denoting the perfume.
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