from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A chiefly nocturnal mustelid mammal (Mustela putorius) of Europe that ejects a malodorous fluid to mark its territory and defend itself from predators.
  • noun Either of two similar mammals, Mustela eversmanii of the Central Asian steppes, having a light brown coat with a black mask, or Vormela peregusna of Eurasia, having a mottled yellow and brown coat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The fitchew or foulmart, Putorius fœtidus of Europe, of a dark-brown color, with a copious fine pelage much used in furriery and for making artists' brushes. See fitch.
  • noun One of several other quadrupeds, mostly of the family Mustelidæ, which have a strong offensive smell.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A small European carnivore of the Weasel family (Putorius fœtidus). Its scent glands secrete a substance of an exceedingly disagreeable odor. Called also fitchet, foulmart, and European ferret.
  • noun The zorilla. The name is also applied to other allied species.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A weasel-like animal of the genus Mustela, notably the European polecat, Mustela putorius.
  • noun US, dialect A skunk.

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

  • noun dark brown mustelid of woodlands of Eurasia that gives off an unpleasant odor when threatened
  • noun American musteline mammal typically ejecting an intensely malodorous fluid when startled; in some classifications put in a separate subfamily Mephitinae


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

[Middle English polcat : possibly Old French poll, poule, fowl, hen; see pullet + Middle English cat, cat; see cat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French pole ("hen") +‎ cat. So named because of its fondness for poultry.


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