One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A nocturnal, catlike mammal of the civet family with short legs, spotted fur, and a long bushy ringed tail, found in Africa, south-western Europe, and Arabia.
Genus Genetta, family Viverridae: several species, in particular the common (or small-spotted) genet (G. genetta)
- ‘‘Compared to larger carnivores, the smaller species such as genets and mongooses are very poorly understood,’ said De Luca, ‘so one of our aims is to shed more light on this important and secretive group of animals.’’
- ‘A diary from the time indicates that lion, caracal, lynx and genet were found on the farm.’
- ‘All mongooses are members of a family of small to medium-sized carnivores called the Viverridae, which also includes civets and genets.’
- ‘The only wild animals are genets (harmless cats), birds and a couple of frolicking otters.’
- ‘We have birds and mammals here such as the slender mongoose and large spotted genets that are not rare, but it's still nice to have them in a city like Johannesburg.’
- 1.1mass noun The fur of the genet.
Middle English (used in the plural meaning ‘genet skins’): from Old French genete, probably via Catalan, Portuguese, or Spanish from Arabic jarnaiṭ.
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