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[mong-goos, mon-] /ˈmɒŋˌgus, ˈmɒn-/
noun, plural mongooses.
a slender, ferretlike carnivore, Herpestes edwardsi, of India, that feeds on rodents, birds, and eggs, noted especially for its ability to kill cobras and other venomous snakes.
any of several other animals of this genus or related genera.
Origin of mongoose
1690-1700; < Marathi mangūs, variant of muṅgūs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mongoose
Historical Examples
  • Adam looked carefully at the mongoose box as the African went by, and was glad to see that it was intact.

  • They are particularly on the watch for the Mediterranean fruit fly and for the mongoose.

    Conservation Reader Harold W. Fairbanks
  • The best way to secure specimens of badger and mongoose is by digging-out their breeding-earths or warrens.

    Unexplored Spain Abel Chapman
  • When there were no people in the bungalow, did we have any mongoose in the garden?

    The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
  • Walter caught a mongoose and brought him in with much triumph.

    From One Generation to Another Henry Seton Merriman
  • The mongoose is a small beast of prey of the Viverridæ family.

    From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin
  • The Egyptian mongoose is a rather larger animal, being about three feet in length from the head to the tip of the tail.

  • And then the old story about the man and his mongoose recurred to me, and I stopped.

    The Librarian at Play Edmund Lester Pearson
  • So now the question is, how shall he get rid of the mongoose?

  • The mongoose has run away into the woods and has not come back.

    Letters of Anton Chekhov Anton Chekhov
British Dictionary definitions for mongoose


noun (pl) -gooses
any small predatory viverrine mammal of the genus Herpestes and related genera, occurring in Africa and from S Europe to SE Asia, typically having a long tail and brindled coat
Word Origin
C17: from Marathi mangūs, of Dravidian origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mongoose

"snake-killing ichneumon of India," 1690s, perhaps via Portuguese, from an Indic language (cf. Mahrathi mangus "mongoose"), probably ultimately from Dravidian (cf. Telugu mangisu, Kanarese mungisi, Tamil mangus). The form of the English word altered by folk-etymology.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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