noun (1)
tab·​by | \ ˈta-bē How to pronounce tabby (audio) \
plural tabbies

Definition of tabby

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 [tabby entry 2]
a : a domestic cat with a striped and mottled coat
b : a domestic cat especially : a female cat
2a : a plain-woven fabric
b archaic : a plain silk taffeta especially with moiré finish



Definition of tabby (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : striped and mottled with darker color : brindled a tabby cat
2 : of, relating to, or made of tabby a tabby vest


noun (2)

Definition of tabby (Entry 3 of 3)

: a cement made of lime, sand or gravel, and oyster shells and used chiefly along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina in the 17th and 18th centuries

Illustration of tabby

Illustration of tabby

Noun (1)

tabby 1a

In the meaning defined above

First Known Use of tabby

Noun (1)

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 2b


1640, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun (2)

1775, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tabby

Noun (1)

French tabis, from Middle French atabis, from Medieval Latin attabi, from Arabic ʽattābī, from Al-ʽAttābīya, quarter in Baghdad

Noun (2)

Gullah tabi, ultimately from Spanish tapia adobe wall

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Time Traveler for tabby

Time Traveler

The first known use of tabby was in 1638

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Cite this Entry

“Tabby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for tabby


tab·​by | \ ˈta-bē How to pronounce tabby (audio) \
plural tabbies

Kids Definition of tabby

: a domestic cat with a striped and spotted coat

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