Definitions

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

  • n. A white or light gray fur used as a trim on medieval robes and on ceremonial robes of state.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A light gray or white fur used to trim the robes of judges or state executives, also used in medieval times.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fur esteemed in the Middle Ages as a part of costume. It is uncertain whether it was the fur of one animal only or of different animals.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A mixed or spotted fur once commonly used for lining or trimming garments.
  • n. In heraldry, a fur like vair, with the peculiarity that the escutcheon-miniver contains six or more horizontal rows of spots.
  • n. The Siberian squirrel, which has fine white fur; also, the fur itself.

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

  • n. trimming on ceremonial robes consisting of white or light grey fur

Etymologies

Middle English meniver, from Old French menu vair, small vair : menu, small; see minuet + vair, vair; see vair.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
from Old French menu vair ("squirrel, squirrel fur"), from menu ("small") + vair ("a type of fur") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Royal Princesses and the Royal Knights of the Garter swept by in prodigious robes and trains of purple velvet, thirty shillings a yard, my dear, not of course including the lining, which, I have no doubt, was of the richest satin, or that costly "miniver" which we used to read about in poor Jerrold's writings.

    Roundabout Papers

  • She had a short cape in her hands, white velvet banded with miniver.

    The Dressmaker

  • Vair, variegated fur, from the Latin varius, varied, also is a root of miniver, originally menu vair, small vair, which referred initially to the fur — perhaps squirrel — used as trim on medieval robes and later was applied to the prized ermine, or winter weasel fur, on the ceremonial robes of peers.

    Were Cinderella’s glass slippers a mistranslation? « Musings from an overworked translator

  • Sinjáb is Persian for the skin of the grey squirrel (Mu. lemmus, the lemming), the meniver, erroneously miniver, (menu vair) as opposed to the ermine = (Mus Armenius, or mustela erminia.)

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Garter swept by in prodigious robes and trains of purple velvet, thirty shillings a yard, my dear, not of course including the lining, which, I have no doubt, was of the richest satin, or that costly “miniver” which we used to read about in poor

    Roundabout Papers

  • He wore soft leather sock boots, turned down at the knees to reveal a lining of the finest miniver.

    Claiming Of Sleeping Beauty

  • Between Prince and wizard, Leynart said nothing, only clutched his precious spell-box to his chest and huddled deeper in this miniver cloak like a cold lapdog on a pillow.

    The Silicon Mage

  • And to preside over them sat not their Prior, but Ferrante Gonzaga himself, in a gown of scarlet velvet edged with miniver.

    The Strolling Saint; being the confessions of the high and mighty Agostino D'Anguissola, tyrant of Mondolfo and Lord of Carmina in the state of Piacenza

  • Her high-waisted gown, low-cut and close-fitting in the bodice, was of cloth of gold, edged with miniver at skirt and cuffs and neck.

    The Historical Nights' Entertainment Second Series

  • So instead of the crepe de Chine and miniver, which had been used for the black dress, I had for the white dress Bolton sheeting and rabbit, and I believe it looked better.

    The Story of My Life

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • as in A Proud Taste for Scarlet and _______ by E.L. Konigsburg

    August 15, 2007