er·mine | \ˈər-mən \
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

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, "Fendi Embraces Faux Over Fur in Paris Couture Show," 5 July 2018 Instead, whenever a hereditary peer hangs up his ermine, a pantomime of democracy follows. The Economist, "Peers fight for a place in the House of Lords," 21 June 2018 The bride wore an ermine blanket stole in the glass carriage on her way to the palace to guard against the winter chill. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "The Royal Bride Who Wore Pink," 18 May 2018 Lock partnered with the jeweler Garrard & Co, also the holder of a royal warrant, to fit George IV’s crown to Queen Elizabeth II’s head for her 1953 coronation, relining the interior with ermine and purple velvet. Amy Tara Koch, New York Times, "A Road Map to Shopping Like a Royal in London," 9 May 2018 With a 6-foot-wide skirt and lavish ermine fur trimming, the 1760s formal court dress is a showstopper. Susan Delson, WSJ, "Fashion’s Glorification—and Devastation—of Nature," 20 Apr. 2018 About 2 feet tall, with a wingspan of about 3 feet, Iglaak was robed from head to toe with an ermine-like plumage of white spotted with dashes of black and gray. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "‘The human heart will not just walk away’ — majestic snowy owl returns to the wild," 15 Jan. 2018 The look was completed by Queen Julia's own jewelry, a glittering crown and scepter, and the organization's Medici collar and Dior red and ermine-trimmed mantle. Sue Strachan,, "Krewe of Mystery's Rose Ball visits Casablanca," 25 Feb. 2018 My first encounter with an ermine was in a duck blind. Christine Cunningham, Alaska Dispatch News, "Ounce for ounce, the ermine may be toughest critter in Alaska," 12 Sep. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ermine

Dictionary Entries near ermine






ermine moth

ermine spot

Statistics for ermine

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ermine

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ermine



English Language Learners Definition of ermine

: a small animal that has a long body and fur that turns white in winter

: the white fur of an ermine


er·mine | \ˈər-mən \

Kids Definition of ermine

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ermine

What made you want to look up ermine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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