er·​mine ˈər-mən How to pronounce ermine (audio)
plural ermines
or plural ermine
: 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
: the white fur of the ermine
: a rank or office whose ceremonial or official robe is ornamented with ermine

Illustration of ermine

Illustration of ermine
  • winter coat

Examples of ermine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her eyes shut, she was draped in a robe with ermine trim, with an inkpot sitting on her skirt and one hand resting on an open book. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 29 Jan. 2024 Along with reintroduction efforts, the project aimed to reduce threats from European stoats, also known as ermines. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 If your ermine frosting is too runny, check the temperature. Sheri Castle, Southern Living, 1 Sep. 2023 In another historical nod, the ermine fur used along the edges of the robe and the fur cape is literally from a coronation of the past. Monique Jessen, Peoplemag, 27 July 2023 Not to mention encounters with fellow Plaza tenants and visitors through the years: Tennessee Williams, at the market by the orange juice, in a full-length ermine, or Richard Burton, down in the health club, reclining on a chaise longue. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 26 June 2023 There was more ermine (a stoat, in its white winter coat) added. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 12 June 2023 The cap portion is made of purple velvet and the base is made of ermine fur, and will be modified for the new king. Elise Brisco, USA TODAY, 3 May 2023 The crown which has a purple cap lined by ermine, includes a silver frame that is lined with gold and is set with nearly 2,000 diamonds, per the Palace. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 6 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ermine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near ermine

Cite this Entry

“Ermine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


er·​mine ˈər-mən How to pronounce ermine (audio)
plural ermine or ermines
: any of several weasels with black on the tail and a brown coat of fur which usually becomes white in the winter
: the white fur of an ermine

More from Merriam-Webster on ermine

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