ferret

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English[edit]

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Ferrets (Mustela putorius)

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English furet, ferret, from Anglo-Norman firet, furet, diminutive of Old French fuiron (weasel, ferret), from Late Latin furo (cat; robber), diminutive of Latin fur (thief).

Noun[edit]

ferret (plural ferrets)

  1. An often domesticated mammal rather like a weasel, descended from the polecat and often trained to hunt burrowing animals.
  2. The black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes.
  3. A diligent searcher.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

ferret (third-person singular simple present ferrets, present participle ferreting, simple past and past participle ferreted)

  1. To hunt game with ferrets.
  2. To uncover and bring to light by searching; usually to ferret out.
    • Shakespeare
      Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 1
      She ferreted in her bag; then held it up mouth downwards; then fumbled in her lap, all so vigorously that Charles Steele in the Panama hat suspended his paint-brush.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Italian fioretto

Noun[edit]

ferret

  1. (dated) A tape of silk, cotton, or ribbon, used to tie documents, clothing, etc. or along the edge of fabric.
    • Charles Dickens, Bleak House
      red tape and green ferret

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From fer +‎ -et.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

ferret m (plural ferrets)

  1. (metal) tag; aglet, aiguillette

Latin[edit]

Verb[edit]

ferret

  1. third-person singular imperfect active subjunctive of ferō