American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A weasellike, usually albino mammal (Mustela putorius furo) related to the polecat and often trained to hunt rats or rabbits.
- n. A black-footed ferret.
- v. To hunt (rabbits, for example) with ferrets.
- v. To drive out, as from a hiding place; expel.
- v. To uncover and bring to light by searching. Often used with out: "Their work merely points the way for others to ferret out the core components of all proteins” ( Natalie Angier).
- v. To hound or harry persistently; worry.
- v. To engage in hunting with ferrets.
- v. To search intensively.
- n. A narrow piece of tape used to bind or edge fabric.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An artificial albinotic variety of the fitch or polecat, Putorius vulgaris or fœtidus, said to be of African origin, about 14 inches long, of a whitish or pale-yellowish color, with red or pink eyes, bred in confinement in Europe and America to kill rats, rabbits, and other vermin or small game living in holes, into which its lithe, slender, and sinuous body readily enters. The ferret is also called
Putorius furo, and is by some considered a species; it is now known only as a domesticated animal. It is a near relative of the stoat or ermiue and the weasel, as well as of the polecat. See these words, and Mustelidœ, Putorius.
- n. In glass-manuf, the iron used to try the melted matter to see if it is fit to work, and to make the rings at the mouths of bottles.
- To drive out of a lurking-place, as a ferret does the rabbit.
- Hence Figuratively, to search out by perseverance and cunning: commonly followed by out: as, to ferret out a secret.
- To search (a place).
- To worry, as a ferret does his prey.
- To hunt with ferrets: as, to ferret rats with trained ferrets.
- n. Originally, a silk tape or narrow ribbon used for fastening or lacing; now, a narrow worsted or cotton ribbon used for binding, for shoestrings, etc., and also, when dyed in bright colors, for cockades, rosettes, etc.
- n. An often domesticated mammal rather like a weasel, descended from the polecat and often trained to hunt burrowing animals.
- n. The black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes.
- n. An diligent searcher.
- v. To hunt game with ferrets.
- v. To uncover and bring to light by searching; usually to ferret out.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) An animal of the Weasel family (Mustela furo syn. Putorius furo), about fourteen inches in length, of a pale yellow or white color, with red eyes. It is a native of Africa, but has been domesticated in Europe. Ferrets are used to drive rabbits and rats out of their holes. They are sometimes kept as pets.
- v. To drive or hunt out of a lurking place, as a ferret does the cony; to search out by patient and sagacious efforts; -- often used with out.
- n. A kind of narrow tape, usually made of woolen; sometimes of cotton or silk; -- called also
- n. (Glass Making) The iron used for trying the melted glass to see if is fit to work, and for shaping the rings at the mouths of bottles.
- v. search and discover through persistent investigation
- v. hound or harry relentlessly
- n. domesticated albino variety of the European polecat bred for hunting rats and rabbits
- n. musteline mammal of prairie regions of United States; nearly extinct
- v. hunt with ferrets
- 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"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English furet, ferret, from Old French furet, from Vulgar Latin *fūrittus, diminutive of Latin fūr, thief. Probably alteration of Italian fioretti, floss silk, pl. of fioretto, diminutive of fiore, flower, from Latin flōs, flōr-, flower. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Telemna, our crazy silvermitt female ferret, is five today.”
“Pivot, our undescented female ferret, is two today.”
“The ferret is shortly joined by his master, a man named Dustfinger.”
“Cecilia is sixteen years old; she gently cradles an ermine (also identified as a ferret), a symbol of purity.”
“A ferret is a small, carnivorous animal belonging to the Mustelidae family.”
“If I can keep it out of reach of dog, cats and ferret, that is.”
“Certainly, Anderson is better than a rabbit these days, but Panesar is a rabbit of Watership Down proportions, the kind of tailender that pros refer to as a ferret - because they go in after the rabbits.”
“So a ferret is the perfect walking companion for me.”
“The ferret is a very close relative of the polecat, but it is as yet unclear whether it is a domesticated form of the European Polecat, the Steppe Polecat, or some hybrid of the two.”
“The ferret is a domestic mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo.”
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