1 [fos-uh]
noun, plural fossae [fos-ee] . Anatomy.
a pit, cavity, or depression, as in a bone.

1820–30; < Latin: ditch, trench, fosse, short for fossa (terra) dug or dug out (earth), noun use of feminine of fossus, past participle of fodere to dig Unabridged


2 [fos-uh]
a forest-dwelling genetlike mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, of the civet family, native to Madagascar, with a short coat of white, black, gray, or brown: now rare.
Also called fossa cat.

1830–40; < Malagasy; compare earlier fossane (< French < Malagasy) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
fossa1 (ˈfɒsə)
n , pl -sae
an anatomical depression, trench, or hollow area
[C19: from Latin: ditch, from fossus dug up, from fodere to dig up]

fossa2 (ˈfɒsə)
a large primitive catlike viverrine mammal, Cryptoprocta ferox, inhabiting the forests of Madagascar: order Carnivora (carnivores). It has thick reddish-brown fur and preys on lemurs, poultry, etc
[from Malagasy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

fossa fos·sa (fŏs'ə)
n. pl. fos·sae (fŏs'ē')
A small longitudinal cavity or depression, as in a bone.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


largest carnivore native to Madagascar, a catlike forest dweller of the civet family, Viverridae. The fossa grows to a length of about 1.5 metres (5 feet), including a tail about 66 centimetres (26 inches) long, and has short legs and sharp, retractile claws. The fur is close, dense, and grayish to reddish brown. Generally most active at night, the fossa is both terrestrial and arboreal. It usually hunts alone and commonly feeds on birds and lemurs but also preys on livestock. Many legends centre on the fossa; some, such as reports of its savagery, are probably much exaggerated.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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