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Syllabification: tab·by
Pronunciation: /ˈtabē

Definition of tabby in English:

noun (plural tabbies)

1 (also tabby cat) A cat whose fur is mottled or streaked with dark stripes.
[ late 17th century (as tabby cat): said to be so named from its striped coloring]
Example sentences
  • There are tabbies and toms in white, black, grey and ginger.
  • On my way home I was accosted by a mewing tabby and white shorthair cat that proceeded to follow me home.
  • A grey tabby cat with white legs and wearing a red collar with a bell was found in the Hawthorn area of the town over the New Year period.
1.1 informal Any domestic cat.
Example sentences
  • Even the most beloved mutt or tabby is deemed virtually worthless: rescued from an animal shelter for a nominal fee, they can be ‘replaced’ at the same expense.
  • Cats and dogs run the risk of falling victim to accidents just as much as humans do, and when an operation is required, your adorable little tabby might need an urgent blood transfusion.
  • Unfortunately, the odds are less than favourable for this overgrown tabby.
2A fabric with a watered pattern, typically silk.
Example sentences
  • Some of these samples are dated to the Han times; they range from lightweight tabby and gauze, some plain and some printed, to medium-textured fabrics such as damask.
4A type of concrete made of lime, shells, gravel, and stones that dries very hard.
[ early 19th century (originally tabby work): perhaps a different word, or from a resemblance in color to that of a tabby cat]


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(Of a cat) gray or brownish in color and streaked with dark stripes.
Example sentences
  • A small, tabby kitten walked out, sniffing the air.
  • Waiting for her at the gate was the neighbour's tabby tomcat who bore the unoriginal name of Tiger.
  • He then looked over towards the tabby kitten and touched it.


late 16th century (denoting a kind of silk taffeta, originally striped, later with a watered finish: sense 2 of the noun): from French tabis, based on Arabic al-῾Attābiyya, the name of the quarter of Baghdad where tabby was manufactured.

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Pronunciation: vəːˈbəʊs
using more words than are needed…