Dutch: literally, monkey, apparently = meer see (see mere2) + kat cat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
meerkat (ˈmɪəˌkæt)
any of several South African mongooses, esp Suricata suricatta (slender-tailed meerkat or suricate), which has a lemur-like face and four-toed feet
[C19: from Dutch: sea-cat]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1481, "monkey," from Du. meerkat "monkey" (related to O.H.G. mericazza), apparently from meer "lake" + kat "cat." But cf. Hindi markat, Skt. markata "ape," which could serve as a source of a Teutonic folk-etymology, even though the word was in Gmc. long before any known direct contact with India. First
applied to the small South African mammals in 1801.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


burrowing member of the mongoose family (Herpestidae), found in southwestern Africa, that is unmistakably recognizable in its upright "sentinel" posture as it watches for predators. The meerkat is slender and has a pointed little face, tiny ears, and black eye patches. Body length is about 29 cm (11 inches), and the smooth, pointed tail is 19 cm long. Colour varies from dark to grizzled light gray or tan, with broad dark bars across the back and a black-tipped tail. Adults weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), with older dominant breeders heavier than subordinates. Easily tamed, the meerkat is sometimes kept as a pet to kill rodents.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Guests can also visit the on-site children's zoo, a region outfitted with an insect zoo, a family farm and a meerkat exhibit.
In a meerkat family, everyone pitches in to help raise the little ones.
Field technicians stay in close contact with meerkat groups throughout the day and observe behavior through such habituation.
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