Definitions

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

  • n. A weasel (Mustela erminea) of northern regions, having a black-tipped tail and dark brown fur that in winter changes to white.
  • n. The commercially valuable white fur of this animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A weasel, Mustela erminea, found in northern latitudes; its dark brown fur turns white in winter (apart from the black tip of the tail)
  • n. The white fur of this animal
  • n. A symbol of purity
  • n. The office of a judge
  • n. A white field with black spots
  • v. To clothe with ermine

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A valuable fur-bearing animal of the genus Mustela (M. erminea), allied to the weasel; the stoat. It is found in the northern parts of Asia, Europe, and America. In summer it is brown, but in winter it becomes white, except the tip of the tail, which is always black.
  • n. The fur of the ermine, as prepared for ornamenting garments of royalty, etc., by having the tips of the tails, which are black, arranged at regular intervals throughout the white.
  • n. By metonymy, the office or functions of a judge, whose state robe, lined with ermine, is emblematical of purity and honor without stain.
  • n. One of the furs. See Fur (Her.)
  • transitive v. To clothe with, or as with, ermine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The stoat, Putorius erminea, a small, slender, short-legged carnivorous quadruped of the weasel family, Mustelidæ, and order Feræ, found throughout the northerly and cold temperate parts of the northern hemisphere.
  • n. In entomology, one of several arctiid moths: so called by English collectors. The buff ermine is Arctia lubricipeda; the water-ermine is A. urticæ.
  • n. The fur of the ermine, especially as prepared for ornamental purposes, by having the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals so that it contrasts with the pure white of the fur.
  • n. Hence The office or dignity of a judge, and especially the perfect rectitude and fairness of mind essential to the judge's office: as, he kept his ermine unspotted.
  • n. In heraldry, one of the furs, represented with its peculiar spots black on a while ground (argent, Spots sable).
  • To cover with or as with ermine.
  • n. An Armenian.
  • In heraldry, composed of four ermine spots: said of a cross so formed.

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

  • n. the expensive white fur of the ermine
  • n. mustelid of northern hemisphere in its white winter coat

Etymologies

Middle English ermin, from Old French ermine, possibly of Germanic origin or from Medieval Latin (mūs) Armenius, Armenian (mouse).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ermine, ermin, ermyn, from Old French ermin, ermine, hermine, from Old Dutch *harmino ‘stoat skin’, from *harmo ‘stoat, weasel’ (compare Dutch dialectal herm), from Proto-Germanic *harmōn (compare Old English hearma, Old High German harmo (adj. harmin, obsolete German Harm), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱormon (compare Romansch carmun, obsolete Lithuanian šarmuõ). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Thanks! I prefer the reversal.

    May 26, 2010

  • I love it! Who did that?

    May 26, 2010

  • An animal of the weasel tribe (Mustela Erminea), an inhabitant of northern countries, called in England a stoat, whose fur is reddish brown in summer, but in winter (in northern regions) wholly white, except the tip of the tail, which is always black.

    Also, a heraldic fur; white marked with black spots of a particular shape.

    February 5, 2007