Student Dictionary

One entry found for tabby.
Main Entry: tab·by
Pronunciation: primarystresstab-emacron
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural tabbies
Etymology: from French tabis "a silk fabric with a lustrous wavy finish," from Latin attabi (same meaning), from Arabic 'attamacrbimacr (same meaning), from Al-'Attamacrbimacrya, name of a part of Baghdad where the cloth was made
1 : a domestic cat with a striped and spotted coat
2 : a female cat
Word History A silk cloth with a striped or wavy pattern was once made in a section of the ancient city of Baghdad in what is now Iraq. The Arabic name for the cloth was 'attamacrbimacr, from Al-'Attamacrbimacrya, the name of the part of the city where it was made. Through Latin, the French borrowed this word for the cloth, calling it tabis. This word in turn became tabby in English. People saw a resemblance between the striped or wavy pattern of the silk and cats that had striped or spotted markings on their fur. Thus these cats came to be called tabby cats after the cloth.
[tabby illustration]

Pronunciation Symbols