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 weaseling (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

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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 These members of the skunk and weasel family are widespread, ranging from British Columbia throughout western Canada and the U.S. to southern Mexico. National Geographic, "American badger," 14 Feb. 2020 Stoat – Related to weasels, polecats and ferrets, the stoat is a small but ferocious predator. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "Can tech save the kakapo, New Zealand's 'gorgeous, hilarious' parrot?," 26 Dec. 2019 The concept art showed an evil queen with blue skin, spiky hair and a coat made from living weasels—an icy Cruella De Vil. Nathalia Holt, Time, "The Forgotten Women Who Helped Shape the Look of Disney Animation," 22 Oct. 2019 Researchers also saw higher numbers of racoons, Japanese marten, a weasel-like animal, and Japanese macaque or monkeys in uninhabited or restricted zones. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Wildlife flourishing in uninhabited areas around Fukushima," 7 Jan. 2020 Interestingly, other animals occasionally visited the burrows—including an extinct relative of martens and weasels, probably looking to make a meal of the burrow’s maker. Hans-dieter Sues, Smithsonian, "How Scientists Resolved the Mystery of the Devil’s Corkscrews," 26 Nov. 2019 Harlan’s grown children, sycophants and weasels all, have gathered for the patriarch’s 85th birthday celebration. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Knives Out’ review: A sleuth plays a ripping game of Clue, and a family of vipers wonders whodunit," 19 Nov. 2019 Harlan’s grown children, sycophants and weasels all, have gathered for the patriarch’s 85th birthday celebration. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "‘Knives Out’ review: A sleuth plays a ripping game of Clue, and a family of vipers wonders whodunit," 27 Nov. 2019 Animals are everywhere in this show: Characters insult each other through invocations of weasels and snakes and extinction-ready dinosaurs. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Why Succession Works So Well as Horror," 13 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "How to Get Rid of Stink Bugs," 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, "Pebble releases federally mandated plan to offset mine project’s impacts to wetlands and salmon streams," 6 Feb. 2020 So in between debates, Harris and her staffers repeatedly weaseled on abolishing private health insurance. Peter Spiliakos, National Review, "How Warren Captured the White Left," 8 Nov. 2019 However, Belichick didn’t keep his word when Antonio Brown weaseled his way out of Oakland a week after Thomas was re-signed. Manish Mehta, courant.com, "Bill Belichick admits backtracking on his promise to Demaryius Thomas," 17 Oct. 2019 Tiny’s ex-lover Jerome tries to weasel the secret of her talents from her, so as to spread them to the male barbers in Cross River. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, "Rion Amilcar Scott on Haircutting and Intimacy," 30 Sep. 2019 Equifax is doing everything to weasel out of this settlement. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Want that $125 from Equifax? Don't ignore the company's latest email," 10 Sep. 2019 Wolff clearly seduced, weaseled, confused and finagled his sources to get them yapping. Michael Miner, Chicago Reader, "Criminal Justice / Media / News Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, and the question of when we get to say the hell with the rules," 11 Jan. 2018 Tough Day: The inspector dinged you because your helper managed to weasel his way through a couple of overfilled boxes and even a sloppy splice that somehow missed your attention. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for weasel

Last Updated

7 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Weasel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weasel. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for weasel


How to pronounce weasel (audio)

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
informal : 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)

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