Definition of meerkat in English:



  • A small southern African mongoose, especially the suricate.

    • ‘Over the past year, we have been making a film on meerkats in the southern Kalahari.’
    • ‘Some animals, including meerkats, are able to distinguish between close and more distant relatives and non-relatives.’
    • ‘Faced with a potentially deadly diet, adult meerkats teach their pups how to deal with scorpions and other prey, a new study shows.’
    • ‘Soon after arrival we noticed two meerkats that appeared unusually tame.’
    • ‘There are wallabies, meerkats, flamingoes, maras and tamarin monkeys in both zoos.’


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 South Asian word; compare with Hindi markaṭ ape.