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See also: civět


African civet Civettictis civetta
English Wikipedia has an article on:


From French civette, from Italian zibetto, from Medieval Latin zibethum, from Arabicزَبَاد(zabād).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɪ.vɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪvɪt


civet (countable and uncountable, plural civets)

  1. (countable) A carnivorous catlike animal, Civettictis civetta, that produces a musky secretion. It is two to three feet (30–90 cm) long, with black bands and spots on the body and tail.
    Synonym: civet cat
  2. (uncountable) The musky perfume produced by the animal.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      LEONATO. Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
      DON PEDRO. Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell him out by that?
      CLAUDIO. That's as much as to say the sweet youth's in love.
    • 1607, [attributed to Thomas Tomkis], Lingva: Or The Combat of the Tongue, and the Five Senses for Superiority. A Pleasant Comœdie., London: Printed by G[eorge] Eld, for Simon Waterson, →OCLC, act IV, scene iii:
      Your onely way to make a good pomander, is this. Take an ownce of the pureſt garden mould, clenſed and ſteeped ſeauen daies in change of motherleſſe roſe water, then take the beſt Labdanum, Benioine, both Storaxes, amber greece, and Ciuet, and muſke, incorporate them together, and work them into what form you pleaſe; this, if your breath bee not to valiant, will make you ſmell as ſweete as my Ladies dogge.
    • 2023 May 6, Simon Schama, “Magic and Modernity”, in FT Weekend, Life & Arts, page 1:
      [] even if modest gestures of modernisation have slimmed down the ceremony, the chrism of unction is no longer perfumed with animal effluents—ambergris, musk and civet—and Andrew Lloyd Webber added to Handel and Elgar?
  3. Any animal in the family Viverridae or the similar family Nandiniidae
  4. (countable, US) Any of several species of spotted skunk, in the genus Spilogale.

Derived terms[edit]





Compare Italian civetta, Romansch tschuetta, French chouette.


civet m

  1. owl
  2. burrowing owl



From cive +‎ -et.



civet m (plural civets)

  1. (cooking) ragout (stew) of hare, rabbit or wild mammal, with red wine and onions, bound with the animal’s blood

Further reading[edit]