Definition of tabby in English:


Line breaks: tabby
Pronunciation: /ˈtabi

noun (plural tabbies)

  • 1 (also tabby cat) A grey or brownish cat mottled or streaked with dark stripes.
    More 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.
  • 2 [mass noun] A fabric with a watered pattern, typically silk.
    More 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.
  • 3 [mass noun] A plain weave.
  • 4 [mass noun] A type of concrete made of lime, shells, gravel, and stones, which dries very hard.
    [ early 19th century (originally tabby work): perhaps a different word, or from a resemblance in colour to that of a tabby cat]
  • 5A small moth with dark wavy markings on the forewings.
    • Genus Aglossa (family Pyralidae), often found in barns and warehouses, and genus Epizeuxis (family Noctuidae)


Back to top  
  • (Of a cat) grey or brownish in colour and streaked with dark stripes: a young tabby tomcat
    More 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: see sense 2 of the noun): from French tabis, based on Arabic al-‘Attābiyya, the name of the quarter of Baghdad where tabby was manufactured.

More definitions of tabby

Definition of tabby in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little