polecat

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English[edit]

A marbled polecat (weasel-like animal).

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French pole (hen) + cat. Origin unknown, possible explanations include its fondness for poultry, or the Old English word fol, "foul", because of its smell. The same species was also known as folmart, "foul martin".

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Noun[edit]

polecat (plural polecats)

  1. A weasel-like animal of the genus Mustela.
    1. notably, the European polecat, Mustela putorius.
    • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 61
      By the little garden pergola open to the winds some fluttered peacocks were blotted nervelessly amid the dripping trees, their heads sunk back beneath their wings: while in the pergola itself, like a fallen storm-cloud, lolled a negress, her levelled, polecat eyes semi-veiled by the nebulous alchemy of the rainbow.
  2. (US, dialectal) A skunk.

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