plural stoats also stoat
: the common ermine (Mustela erminea) chiefly of northern Eurasia and North America that is brown above and white below in summer and in its northern range all white in winter and that ranges from 9 to 15 inches (23 to 38 centimeters) in length including a black-tipped tail that is usually 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches (3.8 to 9 centimeters) long : ermine sense 1a, short-tailed weasel

Examples of stoat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There was more ermine (a stoat, in its white winter coat) added. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 12 June 2023 New Zealand has set an ambitious goal of eradicating by 2050 all nonnative pests — including feral cats, weasel-like stoats, possums, rats and mice — that have decimated much of its unique fauna. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2023 Conservation workers and volunteers, like the cliff-clinging Dan Henry, have been baiting traps with fresh rabbit meat, scattering poison daubed with aromatic lure and scouring footage from cameras across the headland, all in an effort to address the area’s stoat problem. New York Times, 5 June 2022 That includes tracking down that last stoat. New York Times, 5 June 2022 From a playful-looking stoat to a mantis shrimp guarding its eggs, the animal subjects in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards are captivating. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Mar. 2023 Shortly after the sun rose, the stoat climbed out and proceeded to put on a spectacular show. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 In the predawn hours of a cold winter morning in the French Alps, the photographer Jose Grandío lay still in the snow, waiting for a stoat (Mustela erminea) to emerge from its burrow. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 The stoat leaped and danced for about half an hour before returning to his den for the rest of the day. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 13 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stoat.' 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 stote

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stoat was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near stoat

Cite this Entry

“Stoat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a common ermine of northern regions especially in its brown summer coat
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