plural noun

: a large, widely distributed, diverse family (superfamily Arctoidea synonym Canoidea) of relatively small, chiefly carnivorous animals that have usually short legs, a long, often thin body, thick fur, and anal scent glands and that include the weasel, badger, otter, mink, marten, polecat and wolverine

Note: The smallest member of the Mustelidae is the least weasel and the largest is the sea otter.

Word History


New Latin, from Mustela, type genus + -idae

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near Mustelidae

Cite this Entry

“Mustelidae.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!