Mid 17th century French atabis, from Arabic عَتَّابِيّ (ʿattābiyy), ultimately from Arabic العَتَّابِيَّة (al-ʿattābiyya), a quarter of Baghdad (named for a Prince عَتَّاب (ʿattāb)) which is associated with the manufacture of a certain type of waved silk. See also taffeta, another type of silk whose name derives from the Persian تافته (tâfta, “woven cloth”) and shares a similar etymological origin.
- (uncountable) A kind of waved silk, usually called watered silk, manufactured like taffeta, but thicker and stronger. The watering is given to it by calendering.
- (uncountable) A mixture of lime with shells, gravel, or stones, in equal proportions, with an equal proportion of water. When dry, this becomes as hard as rock.
- (countable) A brindled cat.
- (countable, archaic) An old maid or gossip.
- (An old maid or gossip): See Wikisaurus:old woman
tabby (not comparable)
- Having a wavy or watered appearance; as, a tabby waistcoat.
- Brindled; diversified in color; as, a tabby cat.