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small civet, late 15c., from Old French genete (Modern French genette), from Spanish gineta, from Arabic jarnait.
any of about five species of lithe, catlike carnivores of the genus Genetta, family Viverridae. Genets are elongate, short-legged animals with long, tapering tails; pointed noses; large, rounded ears; and retractile claws. Coloration varies among species but usually is pale yellowish or grayish, marked with dark spots and stripes; the tail is banded black and white. Adult genets weigh 1-2 kg (2.2-4.4 pounds) and are about 40-60 cm (16-24 inches) long, excluding the 40-55-centimetre tail