er·​mine | \ ˈər-mən How to pronounce ermine (audio) \
plural ermines

Definition of ermine

1 or plural ermine
a : any of several weasels whose coats become white in winter usually with black on the tip of the tail especially : a weasel (Mustela erminea) chiefly of northern Eurasia and North America that has a short tail, is found in varied habitats (such as forest, grassland, and tundra), and preys especially on small mammals (such as voles and mice) : short-tailed weasel, stoat
b : the white fur of the ermine
2 : a rank or office whose ceremonial or official robe is ornamented with ermine

Illustration of ermine

Illustration of ermine

ermine 1a: winter coat

Examples of ermine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shields describes her being sent to kindergarten in an expensive white ermine coat, then shoved to the ground by her classmates, leaving the fur stained. Blair Mcclendon, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 Glance at the coffee table and see the petrified turtle with the liquid-gold articulated snake and a tiny figure astride an ermine. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, 9 Apr. 2021 On May 31, dressed in clothes of gold and white ermine, Anne made her grand entrance into the capital and passed through the city in a procession that covered half a mile. History Magazine, 29 Dec. 2020 While Dall sheep move down the mountain in winter, whitetails are left to fend for themselves against the ermine and wolverines that rely on them for protein. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Jan. 2020 Republican’ long for an ermine stole, a scepter and an orb. Clark Collis,, 10 June 2019 At the Plaza, Mrs. Walsh held court in her suite, swathed in ermine wraps, her nails painted to match the color of her dress. Julie Satow, New York Times, 7 June 2019 From Snow Peak’s pristine white anorak (like ermine in fleece form) to Battenwear’s Mr. Rogers-goes-to-Aspen nubby cardigan to Supreme’s lively leopard upgrade, brands are pushing fleece into fashion territory. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, 20 Sep. 2018 In show notes, the brand was also careful to emphasize the fabrics used, organza and chiffon among them, directly mentioning fur only once (the adorable ermine). Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 July 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ermine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ermine

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ermine

Middle English, from Anglo-French hermin, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German harmo weasel

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The first known use of ermine was in the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ermine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for ermine


er·​mine | \ ˈər-mən How to pronounce ermine (audio) \

Kids Definition of ermine

: a weasel of northern regions having a winter coat of white fur with a tail tipped in black

More from Merriam-Webster on ermine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ermine

Nglish: Translation of ermine for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about ermine


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