tabbies

tabby

1 [tab-ee]
noun, plural tabbies.
1.
a cat with a striped or brindled coat.
2.
a domestic cat, especially a female one.
3.
a spinster.
4.
a spiteful female gossip or tattler.
6.
a watered silk fabric, or any other watered material, as moreen.
adjective
7.
striped or brindled.
8.
made of or resembling tabby.
verb (used with object), tabbied, tabbying.
9.
to give a wavy or watered appearance to, as silk.

Origin:
1630–40; back formation from French tabis (taken as plural), Middle French (a)tabis silk cloth < Medieval Latin attābi < Arabic ʿattābī, derivative of (al-)ʿAttābīyah, quarter of Baghdad where the silk was first made, literally, the quarter of (Prince) ʿAttāb

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tabby

2 [tab-ee]
noun
(in the southeastern U.S.) a building material composed of ground oyster shells, lime, and sand, mixed with salt water.

Origin:
1765–75, Americanism; said to be of West African orig.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tabby1 (ˈtæbɪ)
 
n
a fabric with a watered pattern, esp silk or taffeta
 
[C17: from Old French tabis silk cloth, from Arabic al-`attabiya, literally: the quarter of (Prince) `Attab, the part of Baghdad where the fabric was first made]

tabby2 (ˈtæbɪ)
 
adj
1.  (esp of cats) brindled with dark stripes or wavy markings on a lighter background
2.  having a wavy or striped pattern, particularly in colours of grey and brown
 
n , -bies
3.  a tabby cat
4.  any female domestic cat
5.  informal (Brit) a gossiping old woman
6.  slang (Austral) any girl or woman
 
[C17: from Tabby, pet form of the girl's name Tabitha, probably influenced by tabby1]

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

tabby
1638, "striped silk taffeta," from Fr. tabis "a rich, watered silk (originally striped)," from M.Fr. atabis (14c.), from Arabic 'attabiya, from 'Attabiy, a neighborhood of Baghdad where such cloth was first made, named for prince 'Attab of the Omayyad dynasty. Tabby cat, one with a striped coat, is
attested from 1695; shortened form tabby first attested 1774. Sense of "female cat" (1826) may be infl. by the fem. proper name Tabby, a pet form of Tabitha, which was used in late 18c. as slang for "difficult old woman."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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