from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several Old World carnivorous mammals of the genus Genetta, having grayish or yellowish fur with dark spots and a long ringed tail.
  • n. Variant of jennet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several Old World nocturnal, carnivorous mammals, of the genus Genetta in the family Viverridae, most of which have a spotted coat and a long, ringed tail.
  • n. A group of genetically identical individuals (plants, fungi, bacteria etc.) that have grown in a given location, all originating from asexual reproduction of a single ancestor; a group of ramets
  • n. A small-sized, well-proportioned, Spanish horse; a jennet.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of several species of small Carnivora of the genus Genetta, allied to the civets, but having the scent glands less developed, and without a pouch.
  • n. The fur of the common genet (Genetta vulgaris); also, any skin dressed in imitation of this fur.
  • n. A small-sized, well-proportioned, Spanish horse; a jennet.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See jennet.
  • n. A kind of civet-cat; a viverrine carnivorous quadruped of the family Viverridæ, or civets; the Genetta vulgaris or Viverra genetta, and other species of the restricted genus Genetta.
  • n. The fur of the genet, which is made into muffs and tippets; hence, catskin made up in imitation of this fur and used for the same purpose.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. French writer of novels and dramas for the theater of the absurd (1910-1986)
  • n. French diplomat who in 1793 tried to draw the United States into the war between France and England (1763-1834)
  • n. agile Old World viverrine having a spotted coat and long ringed tail


Middle English, from Old French genete.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman genette, Middle French genette, jenette et al., of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)
Coined in the 20th century from gene. (Wiktionary)


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  • Found in 1800 Woodcuts by Thomas Bewick and His School, on the page "Natural History: Animals—Badgers, Skunks, and Weasels." Strange since it's a cat (or perhaps only "cat-like"?), but then it's between the zibet and the civet so I guess anything goes. (See also suricate and ratel.)

    August 25, 2008