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tabby1

[tab-ee] /ˈtæb i/
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
1630-1640
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

tabby2

[tab-ee] /ˈtæb i/
noun
1.
(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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Examples for tabby
  • The tabby crouched on the cage's platform is fiercely attentive, as if he's not sure whether he's the hunter or the hunted.
  • Handmade bricks at the base of this tabby feature may have functioned as a footing for the wall.
  • There are several outlying buildings and the tabby foundation of a cotton gin adjacent to the house.
  • The rectangular barn is a significant example of tabby construction.
  • The house is a two-story clapboard structure set on a high tabby foundation.
  • tabby ruins of some of the buildings are still standing, and the sites of others have been exposed by archeological excavations.
  • These applications are reversible, and work to preserve the historic tabby construction from human and environmental factors.
  • It is supported by a high foundation of brick and tabby.
  • The tabby home was repaired and built onto over the years, and cotton production prospered.
British Dictionary definitions for tabby

tabby1

/ˈtæbɪ/
noun
1.
a fabric with a watered pattern, esp silk or taffeta
Word Origin
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/
adjective
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
noun (pl) -bies
3.
a tabby cat
4.
any female domestic cat
5.
(Brit, informal) a gossiping old woman
6.
(Austral, slang) any girl or woman
Word Origin
C17: from Tabby, pet form of the girl's name Tabitha, probably influenced by tabby1
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 tabby
n.

1630s, "striped silk taffeta," from French tabis "a rich, watered silk (originally striped)," from Middle French 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 1690s; shortened form tabby first attested 1774. Sense of "female cat" (1826) may be influenced 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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Slang definitions & phrases for tabby

tabby

noun

pussycat: The 348 is a tabby by comparison (1990s+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for tabby

type of dark-striped coat colouring found in both wild and domestic cats. One of the most common coat colours, the tabby pattern dates back to domestic cats in ancient Egypt. It is a recognized colour variety in purebred cats and is frequently seen in cats of mixed ancestry. Tabby colouring is highly variable but, for show cats, should consist of the following dark markings: stripes and whorls on the face and cheeks; a pattern like butterfly wings across the shoulders; two rings around the chest; bands on the back and sides; and rings about the legs and tail. Allowable ground colours are brown (see ), silver gray (see ), bluish ivory, and reddish brown (see ).

Learn more about tabby with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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12
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