wea·​sel | \ ˈwē-zəl How to pronounce weasel (audio) \
plural weasels

Definition of weasel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 or plural weasel : any of various small slender active carnivorous mammals (genus Mustela of the family Mustelidae, the weasel family) that are able to prey on animals (such as rabbits) larger than themselves, are mostly brown with white or yellowish underparts, and in northern forms turn white in winter — compare ermine sense 1a
2 : a light self-propelled tracked vehicle built either for traveling over snow, ice, or sand or as an amphibious vehicle
3 : a sneaky, untrustworthy, or insincere person


weaseled; weaseling\ ˈwēz-​liŋ How to pronounce weasel (audio) , ˈwē-​zə-​ \

Definition of weasel (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to use weasel words : equivocate
2 : to escape from or evade a situation or obligation often used with out

transitive verb

: to manipulate shiftily

Illustration of weasel

Illustration of weasel


weasel 1

In the meaning defined above

Examples of weasel in a Sentence

Verb the polite guest chose to weasel rather than admit that he didn't like the meal
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun They’re rescued by Buck Wild, an adventure-loving weasel and together the trio face dinosaurs and other creatures in the Lost World. Essence, 7 Jan. 2022 Min-ah’s haughty mother-in-law abuses her and Min-ah’s weasel of a husband cheats on her. Joan Macdonald, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 The Suicide Squad’s version of Weasel is actually just be a big weasel. James Grebey, Vulture, 6 Aug. 2021 Around 220 million years ago, a group of weasel-like protomammals called cynodonts spun off a new evolutionary branch. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2021 To be sure — three of my favorite weasel words — these large home value increases are relatively small beer compared with the far bigger increase in the value of U.S. stocks over the same period. Washington Post, 16 June 2021 Wolverines are technically a type of weasel but look more like a cross between a large badger and a small bear. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, 14 June 2021 Mustelids are weasel-like carnivores that include fishers, otters, minks and martens. Jeff Kart, Forbes, 25 May 2021 At work, Henry suffers the fake support of his sniveling weasel of a boss (P.J. Byrne). Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This is not a way to weasel some internal PR into your brand, but rather a genuine method for improving your company's performance. Yec, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 But unlike Covid-19, harmful particles from wildfire smoke can easily penetrate cloth coverings and weasel through gaps between the mask and a person’s face. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Aug. 2021 Despite those pledges, Hirsch and many local residents say Boeing and the federal government have repeatedly tried to weasel out of their commitments. Sammy Roth Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2021 Manafort’s and Cohen’s legal troubles will further cement in the public’s mind that corrupt people weaseled their way into Mr. Trump’s orbit before and during his presidential campaign. Karl Rove, WSJ, 22 Aug. 2018 Now this doctor just said Rona probably weaseled her way in. Adiba Nelson, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2020 Stink bugs can weasel their ways into spaces, but often cannot figure out how to escape, thus causing a small community to suddenly inhabit your home. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, 7 Feb. 2020 The council opposed the idea of Pebble trying to weasel their way in and throwing all their money around. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Feb. 2020 So in between debates, Harris and her staffers repeatedly weaseled on abolishing private health insurance. Peter Spiliakos, National Review, 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'weasel.' 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 weasel


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


1900, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for weasel


Middle English wesele, from Old English weosule; akin to Old High German wisula weasel


weasel word

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Time Traveler for weasel

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The first known use of weasel was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near weasel



weasel cat

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Statistics for weasel

Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Weasel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weasel. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for weasel



English Language Learners Definition of weasel

: a small animal that has a thin body and brown fur and that eats small birds and other animals
: a dishonest person who cannot be trusted


wea·​sel | \ ˈwē-zəl How to pronounce weasel (audio) \

Kids Definition of weasel

: a small slender active animal related to the mink that feeds on small birds and animals (as mice)

More from Merriam-Webster on weasel

Nglish: Translation of weasel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of weasel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about weasel


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