ferret was our Word of the Day on 06/05/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Origin and Etymology of ferret
Definition of ferret
- ferret out the answers
ferret as a Verb
Since the 14th century, English speakers have used "ferret" as the name of a small domesticated animal of the weasel family. The word came to us by way of Anglo-French and can be traced back to Latin fur, meaning "thief." These days ferrets are often kept as pets, but prior to that they were typically used to hunt rabbits, rats, and other vermin, and to drive them from their underground burrows. By the 15th century, the verb "ferret" was being used of the action of hunting with ferrets. By the late 16th century, the verb had taken on figurative uses as well. Today, we most frequently encounter the verb "ferret" in the sense of "to find and bring to light by searching."
FERRET Defined for Kids
History for ferret
Seen and Heard
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