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ferret (plural ferrets)
- An often domesticated mammal (Mustela putorius furo) rather like a weasel, descended from the polecat and often trained to hunt burrowing animals.
- The black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes.
- A diligent searcher.
- 1998 July 2, Charles Nicholl, "Screaming in the Castle" in the London Review of Books, Vol. XX, No. 13:
the mammal Mustela putorius furo
- To hunt game with ferrets.
- (transitive, intransitive) To uncover and bring to light by searching; usually to ferret out.
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iv]:
- Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.
- 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities:
- I confess that we were so unpopular with the outrageous mob, that I only got away from England at the risk of being ducked to death, and that Cly was so ferreted up and down, that he never would have got away at all but for that sham.
- 1842, Edgar Alan Poe, The Mistery of Marie Roget:
- He had been piqued by the failure of all his endeavors to ferret out the assassins.
- 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.
to bring to light by searching
- (dated) A tape of silk, cotton, or ribbon, used to tie documents, clothing, etc. or along the edge of fabric.
ferret m (plural ferrets)
- “ferret” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).