a yellowish, unctuous substance with a strong musklike odor, obtained from a pouch in the genital region of civets and used in perfumery.
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.
any of various related or similar animals, as the palm civet.

1525–35; < Middle French civette < Catalan civettaArabic zabād civet perfume; see zibet

civetlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
civet (ˈsɪvɪt)
1.  any catlike viverrine mammal of the genus Viverra and related genera, of Africa and S Asia, typically having blotched or spotted fur and secreting a powerfully smelling fluid from anal glands
2.  the yellowish fatty secretion of such an animal, used as a fixative in the manufacture of perfumes
3.  the fur of such an animal
4.  short for palm civet
[C16: from Old French civette, from Italian zibetto, from Arabic zabād civet perfume]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1532, from Fr. civette, from It. zibetto, from Arabic zabad "musk," but perhaps ult. from an African language.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.
With a civet and a fish-net, and with you to pay the rent.
These giant civet cats want to come in and scrounge.
For example, about a ton of meat from the catlike predator the civet is sold in
  the country each month.
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