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 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, "A long-awaited visit from whitetail ptarmigan leads to a moment captured forever," 26 Jan. 2020 Republican’ long for an ermine stole, a scepter and an orb. Clark Collis,, "Elvis Costello refers to Donald Trump as a 'mediocre entrepreneur' in letter accepting award from Queen," 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, "The Widows of the Plaza Hotel," 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, "That Old Patagonia Fleece Looking Tired? Try These Upgrades," 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, "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

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.

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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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Time Traveler for ermine

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Ermine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce ermine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ermine

US : 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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ermine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ermine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ermine

Spanish Central: Translation of ermine

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

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