Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several principally arboreal carnivorous mammals of the genus Martes, related to the weasel, mainly inhabiting northern forests, and having a slender body, bushy tail, and soft fur.
  • n. The fur of one of these carnivorous mammals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any carnivorous mammal of the genus Martes in the family Mustelidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bird. See martin.
  • n. Any one of several fur-bearing carnivores of the genus Martes (formerly Mustela), closely allied to the sable. Among the more important species are the European beech marten or stone marten (Martes foina); the pine marten (Martes martes); and the American marten, or sable (Martes Americana), which some zoölogists consider only a variety of the Russian sable.
  • n. The fur of the marten, used for hats, muffs, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A digitigrade carnivorous quadruped of the family Mustelidœ, subfamily Mustelinœ, and genus Mustela or Martes, of which there are several species, all inhabiting the northern hemisphere.
  • n. A carnivorous marsupial of the genus Phascogale, as the spotted marten of Australia.
  • n. An obsolete spelling of martin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. agile slender-bodied arboreal mustelids somewhat larger than weasels

Etymologies

Middle English martrin, marten, from Old French martrine (from feminine of martrin, pertaining to the marten, from martre, marten) and from Medieval Latin martrīna, both of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English martren, martryn, from Anglo-Norman martrine 'marten fur', from Old Low Franconian *marþrin 'of marten fur' (cf. Middle Dutch martren), from *marþra 'marten' (compare Dutch marter), from Proto-Germanic *marþuz (compare Low German Mort, West Frisian murd 'polecat', Old English mearþ 'shrew'), originally 'wedding' (cf. Crimean Gothic marzus 'wedding'), from Proto-Indo-European *martus 'bride'. More at marry. For sense development, compare Italian donnola 'weasel', from donna 'lady', Greek nyfítsa 'weasel', from nymfē 'bride'. (Wiktionary)

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