- a silk taffeta with stripes or wavy markings; watered silk
- a light-colored cat with darker stripes, sometimes of another color
- any domestic cat, esp. a female
- Brit., Informal
- an old maid
- a malicious woman gossip
Origin of tabbyFrench tabis, earlier atabis from Medieval Latin attabi from Arabic al-?att?b?ya from ?att?b?, the quarter of Baghdad where it was manufactured: after a prince ?Att?b, of the Omayyad dynasty
- made of, or like, tabby
- having dark stripes over gray or brown; brindled
transitive verb-·bied, -·by·ing
- A rich watered silk.
- A fabric of plain weave.
- a. A domestic cat with a coat that has stripes or swirls of darker fur on a lighter background.b. A domestic cat, especially a female.
- A spinster.
- A prying woman; a gossip.
- South Atlantic US A mixture of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water used as a building material.
- Having light and dark striped or swirled markings: a Maine coon with a tabby pattern.
- Made of or resembling watered silk.
Origin of tabbyFrench tabis from Old French atabis from Medieval Latin attabī from Arabic 'attābī after al-'Attābīya , a suburb of Baghdad, Iraq
(countable and uncountable, plural tabbies)
- (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.
- Having a wavy or watered appearance; as, a tabby waistcoat.
- Brindled; diversified in color; as, a tabby cat.
Mid 17th circa French atabis, from Arabic attabi, ultimately from Arabic al-Attabiya, the name of a section of Baghdad, Iraq, 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 ØªØ§ÙØªÙ‡ (tÃ¢fta, “woven cloth") and shares a similar etymological origin.