American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various carnivorous mammals of the genus Mustela, having a long slender body, a long tail, short legs, and brownish fur that in many species turns white in winter.
- n. A person regarded as sneaky or treacherous.
- v. To be evasive; equivocate.
- weasel out Informal To back out of a situation or commitment in a sneaky or cowardly manner.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small carnivorous digitigrade mammal of the restricted genus Putorius, of the family Mustelidæ, related to the stoat or ermine, ferret, and polecat of the same genus, and less intimately to the marten or sable of the genus Mustela of the same family. The species to which the name is most frequeutly or especially applied is P.vulgaris, the common weasel of Europe and of most of the cold and temperate parts of the northern hemisphere, distinguished by the comparative length and extreme slenderness of the body, and very small size, being only some 6 or 8 inches long, with a tail of 2 inches in length, or less; the color is reddish-brown above, and white below; the tail is of the same color as the body, and not tipped with black. In northerly regions it turns white in winter, like the ermine. It feeds on rats, mice, moles, shrews, small birds and their eggs, and insects; and, though itself classed as vermin by gamekeepers, it is often serviceable as a destroyer of vermin in ricks, barns, and granaries, its small size and lithe, sinuous body enabling it to penetrate almost everywhere. Its cunning and wariness are proverbial in the expression to catch a weasel asleep—that is, to do an extremely difficult thing by strategy, finesse, or unexpected action. Other species of Putorius, properly called
weasels, inhabit most parts of the world, and the name has loosely attached to various animals of different families, some of which applications are noted in phrases below.
- n. The weasel-coot.
- n. A lean, mean, sneaking, greedy fellow.
- n. The least weasel, Mustela nivalis.
- n. Any of the carnivorous mammals of the genus Mustela, having a slender body, a long tail and usually a light brown upper coat and light-coloured belly.
- n. The taxonomic family Mustelidae is also called the weasel family.
- n. A devious or sneaky person or animal.
- n. A type of yarn winder used for counting the yardage of handspun yarn. It most commonly has a wooden peg or dowel that pops up from the gearing mechanism after a certain number of yards have been wound onto the winder.
- v. transitive To achieve by clever or devious means.
- v. To gain something for oneself by clever or devious means.
- v. intransitive To engage in clever or devious behavior.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of various species of small carnivores belonging to the genus Putorius, as the ermine and ferret. They have a slender, elongated body, and are noted for the quickness of their movements and for their bloodthirsty habit in destroying poultry, rats, etc. The ermine and some other species are brown in summer, and turn white in winter; others are brown at all seasons.
- n. a person who is regarded as treacherous or sneaky
- n. small carnivorous mammal with short legs and elongated body and neck
- Middle English wesele, from Old English weosule, from Proto-Germanic *wisulōn (compare West Frisian wezeling, Dutch wezel, German Wiesel), from Proto-Indo-European *wiselos (compare Irish fíal 'ferret'), from *wis- 'musk, stink' (compare Latin virus 'slimy liquid, mud; stench', Sanskrit विस्र (visra) 'musty, smelling of raw meat)'. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English wesele, from Old English wesle. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The use of a target in weasel is irrelevant; it is required only because the analogy weasel uses is string "fitness" (correspondence to a known Englidh phrase) and string fitness is defined by human convention.”
“March 19th, 2010 at 1: 36 pm tombaker says: the weasel is the only mammal capable of rotating its spine past 180 degrees, as aptly demonstrated in post 43.”
“Wow, the poor weasel is still being kicked around this blog?”
“Perhaps, being from the "other side," "far side," or "dark side," you could concisely explain to me what message "weasel" is supposed to convey.”
“The Sea Mink weasel is presumed extinct, but e. eoli with its bacterial flagellum lives on ….”
“What are the odds that this fracking AG weasel is another fracking closet case?”
“I sense that the weasel is itching to launch a defense of “policy by anecdote”.”
“This kind of "semantic weasel" is essentially the approach taken by Gregory Bateson in his next-to-last book, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity.”
“Instead, Romney relied on what are sometimes called "weasel words", in which an allegation is alluded to, without being made head-on.”
“Now this weasel is backing Obama ..... seems all the scum does jenny”
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Off the straight and narrow; less than straight arrow.
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