civetlike, adj.
/siv"it/, n.
1. a yellowish, unctuous substance with a strong musklike odor, obtained from a pouch in the genital region of civets and used in perfumery.
2. any catlike, carnivorous mammal of the subfamily Viverrinae, chiefly of southern Asia and Africa, having a coarse-haired, spotted coat, rounded ears, and a narrow muzzle.
3. any of various related or similar animals, as the palm civet.
4. cacomistle.
[1525-35; < MF civette < Catalan civetta Ar zabad civet perfume; see ZIBET]

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Any of 15–20 species of long-bodied, short-legged carnivores (family Viverridae) found in Africa, southern Europe, and Asia.

Catlike in appearance, civets have a thickly furred tail, small ears, and pointed snout. Civets are commonly buff or grayish, with black spots or stripes or both. They range in length from 16 to 34 in. (40–85 cm), excluding the 5–26-in. (13–66-cm) tail, and in weight from 3.3 to 24 lbs (1.5–11 kg). Civets mark territories with a greasy, musklike secretion (called civet) stored in a pouch under the tail; civet is sometimes used in the manufacture of perfumes. Usually solitary, civets feed on small animals and on vegetable matter. Five species are considered in possible danger of extinction.

African palm civet (Nandinia binotata)

Robert C. Hermes from The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers
EB Inc.

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also called  civet cat 
  any of a number of long-bodied, short-legged carnivores of the family Viverridae. There are about 15 to 20 species, placed in 10 to 12 genera. Civets are found in Africa, southern Europe, and Asia. Rather catlike in appearance, they have thickly furred tails, small ears, and pointed snouts. The coloration varies widely among the species but commonly is buff or grayish with a pattern of black spots or stripes or both. Length ranges from about 40 to 85 cm (16 to 34 inches), with the tail accounting for another 13 to 66 cm (5 to 26 inches), and weight ranges from 1.5 to 11 kg (3.3 to 24 pounds). The anal glands of civets open under the tail into a large pouch in which a greasy, musklike secretion accumulates. This secretion, known as civet, is used by the animals in marking territories. The secretion of the lesser Oriental civet, or rasse (Viverricula indica), and of the Oriental and African civets (Viverra) is employed commercially in the manufacture of perfume.

      Civets are usually solitary and live in tree hollows, among rocks, and in similar places, coming out to forage at night. Except for the arboreal palm civets, such as Paradoxurus (also known as toddy cat because of its fondness for palm juice, or “toddy”) and Nandinia, civets are mainly terrestrial. The otter civet (Cynogale bennetti), African civet (Viverra, sometimes Civettictis, civetta), and the rare Congo water civet (Osbornictis piscivora) are semiaquatic. Civets feed on small animals and on vegetable matter. Their litters usually consist of two or three young.

      The Red Data Book lists five civets considered to be in possible danger of extinction; among these are the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossa) and the otter civet.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • civet — civet …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • civet — [ sivɛ ] n. m. • 1636 « ragoût aux cives »; civéXIIe; de cive ♦ Ragoût (de lièvre, lapin, gibier) cuit avec du vin rouge, des oignons. Lapin en civet. « On servit un civet de garenne avec une sauce au sang battu » (Quignard). Civet de chevreuil,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Civet — Civ et (s[i^]v [e^]t), n. [F. civette (cf. It. zibetto) civet, civet cat, fr. LGr. zape tion, fr. Ar. zub[=a]d, zab[=a]d, civet.] 1. A substance, of the consistence of butter or honey, taken from glands in the anal pouch of the civet ({Viverra… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • civet — CIVET. s. m. Espèce de ragoût fait de chair de lièvre. Faire un civet. Manger un civet. Un civet de lièvre. Mettre un lièvre en civet …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • civet — [siv′it] n. [Fr civette < It zibetto < Ar zabād] 1. a yellowish, fatty substance with a musklike scent, secreted by a gland near the genitals of the civet cat and used in making some perfumes 2. the civet cat 3. its fur …   English World dictionary

  • Civet — Civ et, v. t. To scent or perfume with civet. Cowper [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Civet — Diminutif de cive (= oignon), a dû désigner un producteur ou un marchand d oignons. On le rencontre surtout dans l Isère et la Saône et Loire, ainsi que dans la Mayenne. Le sens est sans doute le même pour Civel (44, 56, 43). A noter cependant qu …   Noms de famille

  • civet — 1530s, from Fr. civette (15c.), ultimately (with It. zibetto, M.L. zibethum, Med.Gk. zapetion) via lost intermediate forms from Arabic zabad civet, said to be related to zabad foam, froth, zubd cream …   Etymology dictionary

  • civet — ► NOUN 1) a slender nocturnal cat native to Africa and Asia. 2) a strong musky perfume obtained from the scent glands of the civet. ORIGIN Arabic …   English terms dictionary

  • Civet — This article is about the animal civet. For the perfume, see civetone. For the music band, see Civet (band). For the economic term, see CIVETS. Civets African Civet, Civettictis civetta Scien …   Wikipedia

  • Civet — Cet article concerne le plat. Pour l espèce animale des civettes, voir Viverridae. Pour le terme économique des nouveaux pays émergents, voir CIVETS. Civet Civet de marcassin …   Wikipédia en Français

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