african-mongoose

African mongoose

noun
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ichneumon

[ik-noo-muhn, -nyoo-]
noun
1.
Also called African mongoose, Egyptian mongoose. a slender, long-tailed mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, inhabiting Africa and southern Europe, and believed by the ancient Egyptians to devour crocodile eggs.

Origin:
1565–75; < Latin < Greek ichneúmōn tracker, equivalent to ichneú(ein) to track (see ichno-) + -mōn agent suffix

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World English Dictionary
ichneumon (ɪkˈnjuːmən)
 
n
a mongoose, Herpestes ichneumon, of Africa and S Europe, having greyish-brown speckled fur
 
[C16: via Latin from Greek, literally: tracker, hunter, from ikhneuein to track, from ikhnos a footprint; so named from the animal's alleged ability to locate the eggs of crocodiles]

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Word Origin & History

ichneumon
1572, originally a weasel-like animal in Egypt, from Gk. ichneumon, lit. "searcher," perhaps because it hunts crocodile eggs, from ichneuein "hunt for, track," from ichnos "a track," of unknown origin. Used by Aristotle for a species of wasp that hunts spiders.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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