Meaning of tabby in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtabi/

Translate tabby into Spanish

nounplural noun tabbies

  • 1

    (also tabby cat)
    A grey or brownish cat mottled or streaked with dark stripes.

    ‘There are tabbies and toms in white, black, grey and ginger.’
    • ‘On my way home I was accosted by a mewing tabby and white shorthair cat that proceeded to follow me home.’
    • ‘A grey tabby cat with white legs and wearing a red collar with a bell was found in the Hawthorn area of the town over the New Year period.’
    • ‘In the next suite was a man, a woman and a dark grey tabby cat.’
    • ‘The cat could be a tabby, a tortoiseshell, maybe even a Siamese.’
    • ‘The cat's eyes were an extraordinarily bright shade of blue, and its coat was marked with white stripes similar to that of a tabby, but tipped with the black face, tail, and feet points of a Siamese.’
    • ‘‘It takes about two years for the coat to come in completely on colors other than tabbies,’ says one cat association.’
    • ‘They were all similar to Juniper, but each came in a different breed or color; some were ginger, some were tabbies, Manx even… Every kind of cat.’
    • ‘I noticed two cats curled up on the edge of the bed, one orange and one gray, both tabbies, and asked, ‘Is that your cat or a family cat?’’
    • ‘The cat was an orange tabby with amber eyes that were narrowed with anger.’
    • ‘Mavis and Stella aren't happy about my false start of five minutes ago, and the tabbies are sitting side by side, noses in the air, on the middle of the kitchen counter.’
    • ‘Debbie has fallen in love with a beautiful dark coloured tabby who, like most of the others, still has two weeks to go before he's ready for adoption.’
    • ‘Another was a brown tabby, she was a very sweet kitten.’
    • ‘The cat was an orange tabby with amber eyes that were narrowed with anger.’
    • ‘Skittles, an orange tabby, was left behind during a summer stay in southern Wisconsin.’
    • ‘Tumble, an adorable gray tabby, was a member of our family from the time she was born.’
    • ‘Princess, a gray tabby, ran away, the bell on her pink collar that bore her name jingling.’
    • ‘We're very very proud, and he beat a very merited beautiful silver tabby.’
    • ‘With great reluctance, she handed over the little grey tabby.’
    • ‘While she stroked the brown tabby, she reflected on the day ahead.’
  • 2mass noun A fabric with a watered pattern, typically silk.

    • ‘Some of these samples are dated to the Han times; they range from lightweight tabby and gauze, some plain and some printed, to medium-textured fabrics such as damask.’
  • 3mass noun A plain weave.

  • 4mass noun A type of concrete made of lime, shells, gravel, and stones, which dries very hard.


    Early 19th century (originally tabby work): perhaps a different word, or from a resemblance in colour to that of a tabby cat.

  • 5A small moth with dark wavy markings on the forewings.

    Genus Aglossa (family Pyralidae), often found in barns and warehouses, and genus Epizeuxis (family Noctuidae)


  • (of a cat) grey or brownish in colour and streaked with dark stripes.

    ‘a young tabby tomcat’
    • ‘A small, tabby kitten walked out, sniffing the air.’
    • ‘Waiting for her at the gate was the neighbour's tabby tomcat who bore the unoriginal name of Tiger.’
    • ‘He then looked over towards the tabby kitten and touched it.’
    • ‘Seeing no one save a small tabby kitten lying curled upon a red plush sofa, I took the chance to look around.’
    • ‘Her grandma promptly picked up the water jug, and poured it through the screen, onto the little tabby kitten.’
    • ‘He is an exceptionally cute, friendly and talkative young cat, with classic blotchy tabby coat.’
    • ‘Then there was the surgery cat, a tough little tabby, much like Harry Cat except his tabby stripes were broken into small pieces by the intrusion of some foreign gene in his heritage.’
    • ‘He was a big white cat with tabby patches and he was like a member of the family.’
    • ‘I glanced over to where he was looking and saw a creature like a tiger, but with tabby coloring instead of the traditional black and orange stripes.’
    • ‘She went back to help the cat and recognised a tiny bit of tabby fur that hadn't been burnt off, and realised the cat was her own.’
    • ‘Just outside their door, three Cats probed their defenses, a young notch-eared orange-haired tom and two tabby females.’
    • ‘She named another Ru, for no reason, she had a tabby coat with a tan stripe across her nose.’
    • ‘Though the tigers involved are usually of the orange colour, white tigers have been mated with lions to produce white Ligers and golden tabby tigers have been mated with lions to produce golden Ligers.’
    • ‘When I was young, my aunt took a kitten from that cat, a little tabby one, before she left - I hope she found somewhere more peaceful with it.’
    • ‘The two smallest kittens looked alike they had the same tabby fur, the smallest of the cats also matched as they had the same caramel coat and the biggest cats had the same fluffy white fur.’
    • ‘His orange tabby fur was normal among street toms.’
    • ‘Their coloration is similar to that of a tabby domestic cat and makes them difficult to see in their forested habitats.’
    • ‘The tabby kitten made a soft mewing sound and rolled out of the playful fight.’
    • ‘Two little bunnies owe their lives to Tess, the tabby kitten.’
    speckled, blotched, blotchy, spotted, spotty, dotted, streaked, streaky, mottled, marbled, flecked, freckled, stippled, piebald, skewbald, pied, brindled, brindle, tabby, marled


Late 16th century (denoting a kind of silk taffeta, originally striped, later with a watered finish: see tabby (sense 2 of the noun)): from French tabis, based on Arabic al-‘Attābiyya, the name of the quarter of Baghdad where tabby was manufactured.