tiger-cat, noun

Forms:
Also tyger-cat.
Origin:
South African DutchShow more Formed on South African Dutch tyger-bosch-kat ‘tiger-bush-cat’.
obsolescent
The serval Felis serval of the Felidae, with small head, long legs and neck, large ears, and an off-white to golden-yellow coat patterned with black spots and bars. See also wild cat (wild sense b). Cf. tiger sense 1.
Note:
The name is also used of other species throughout the world.
[1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 151They have a third cat in Africa, which, in its motions and attitudes, is like our common cat, and is called at the Cape the tyger-kat, and the tyger bosch-kat.]
[1790 tr. of F. Le Vaillant’s Trav. I. 79Another species, called by the Dutch luypar, or leopard of the French; and a third species, still smaller, called the cat tyger, and by Buffon the osselot.]
1797 J. Barrow in D. Fairbridge Lady Anne Barnard (1924) 52Twenty and thirty different sorts of Antelopes, Tygers, Tyger-cats, and in short more kinds of beasts than ever entered Noah’s Ark are daily scampering about the plains of Africa.
1810 G. Barrington Acct of Voy. 247The skin of the tyger-cat is used by the women as pocket handkerchiefs.
a1823 J. Ewart Jrnl (1970) 39A considerable traffic might..be carried on in ox hides either dried or salted, to which may be added the skins of the leopard, panther and tyger cat.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 327Leopards and tiger-cats were frequently seen in this part of the country.
1867 S. Turner in D. Child Portrait of Pioneer (1980) 66It was either a tiger or large tiger-cat, as the cock, which happened to be roosting on the tree instead of in the hen-house, was bitten quite through the neck.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 43But now for the case itself, which was the bite of the South African tiger or tiger-cat.
1884 E.V.C. Promised Land 93On one occasion, we had been more than usually successful, and bagged two bucks, a great many birds and a large bush tiger cat.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 245Once they killed a tiger-cat...They were tugging and tearing at the lifeless black and white body.
1912 Queenstown Free Press 29 July (Pettman)The wild cat or tiger-cat, as it is generally called, the mshlosi of the natives, is, I believe, irreclaimable.
1925 H.J. Mandelbrote tr. of O.F. Mentzel’s Descr. of Cape of G.H. II. 61Their caps look handsome and imposing; the back is of blue kersey and the front of tiger skin — or alleged tiger skin; more probably it is made of the skin of the tiger-cat, an animal found locally.
1936 L.G. Green Secret Afr. 192Leopards and tiger cats prowl in search of food.
1945 L.G. Green Where Men Still Dream 185The native who risks his life with a blunderbuss is happy to receive half the amount for the skin. Tiger cats, striped like Bengal tigers, red cats, wild cats and jackals are usually hunted with dogs and finished with knobkerries.
1971 S. Afr. Panorama Jan. 38The skin of a serval (tiger cat) was hung from the shoulders of the Chief Councillor.
The serval Felis serval of the Felidae, with small head, long legs and neck, large ears, and an off-white to golden-yellow coat patterned with black spots and bars.
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