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1

ferret

play
noun fer·ret \ˈfer-ət\

Definition of ferret

  1. 1 a :  a domesticated usually albino, brownish, or silver-gray animal (Mustela putorius furo) that is descended from the European polecat b :  black-footed ferret

  2. 2 :  an active and persistent searcher

fer·rety play \-ə-tē\ adjective


Origin of ferret

Middle English furet, ferret, from Anglo-French firet, furet, from Vulgar Latin *furittus, literally, little thief, diminutive of Latin fur thief — more at furtive


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Mammals Terms

Rhymes with ferret


2

ferret

verb fer·ret

Definition of ferret

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to hunt with ferrets

  3. 2 :  to search about

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1 a (1) :  to hunt (as rabbits) with ferrets (2) :  to force out of hiding :  flush b :  to find and bring to light by searching —usually used with out <ferret out the answers>

  6. 2 :  harry, worry

fer·ret·er noun


15th Century

First Known Use of ferret

15th century


3

ferret

noun fer·ret

Definition of ferret

  1. :  a narrow cotton, silk, or wool tape —called also ferreting



Origin of ferret

probably modification of Italian fioretti floss silk, from plural of fioretto, diminutive of fiore flower, from Latin flor-, flos — more at blow


First Known Use: 1649



FERRET Defined for Kids

1

ferret

play
noun fer·ret \ˈfer-ət\

Definition of ferret

  1. :  a domesticated animal with usually white or light brown or gray fur that originates from the European polecat



History for ferret

The ferret is a domesticated breed of the European polecat. For centuries the ferret has been used in Europe for hunting rats and sometimes rabbits. But both the wild polecat and its domestic relative have a rather bad reputation as chicken thieves. Appropriately, then, the ferret is, according to the history of its name, a “little thief.” Medieval English ferret (or furet) is borrowed from French furet, which ultimately goes back to Latin fur, “thief.”


2

ferret

play
verb fer·ret

Definition of ferret

fer·ret·edfer·ret·ing

  1. :  to find by eager searching <Could you ferret out the answer?>





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