Definition of civet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsivət/


(also civet cat)
1A slender nocturnal carnivorous mammal with a barred and spotted coat and well-developed anal scent glands, native to Africa and Asia.
Example sentences
  • The main suspect to date is the civet cat, a cat-like mammal closely related to the mongoose.
  • This includes the civet cat which is known to be a carrier of the disease.
  • So it's not a virus that every Himalayan palm civet has always had and is chronically infected with.
1.1A strong musky perfume obtained from the secretions of the civet’s scent glands.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • The secretion of these glands, called civet, is used as a perfume base and medicine..
  • 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.
2 another term for cacomistle.
2.1US The fur of the cacomistle.


Mid 16th century: from French civette, from Italian zibetto, from medieval Latin zibethum, from Arabic zabād, denoting the perfume.

Words that rhyme with civet

privet, rivet, trivet

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: civ·et

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