One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small southern African mongoose, especially the suricate.
- ‘Faced with a potentially deadly diet, adult meerkats teach their pups how to deal with scorpions and other prey, a new study shows.’
- ‘Over the past year, we have been making a film on meerkats in the southern Kalahari.’
- ‘Soon after arrival we noticed two meerkats that appeared unusually tame.’
- ‘There are wallabies, meerkats, flamingoes, maras and tamarin monkeys in both zoos.’
- ‘Some animals, including meerkats, are able to distinguish between close and more distant relatives and non-relatives.’
Early 18th century: from South African Dutch, from Dutch, ‘long-tailed monkey’, apparently from meer ‘sea’ + kat ‘cat’, but perhaps originally an alteration of an oriental word; compare with Hindi markaṭ ‘ape’.
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