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 Fact: Forests support healthy populations of white-footed mouse predators like hawks, owls, weasels, foxes, bobcats, and large snakes. Ted Levin, BostonGlobe.com, "9 myths about ticks and Lyme disease, debunked," 23 Aug. 2019 Missing from the Broadway cast was Charles Nelson Reilly, who also won a Tony as Bud Frump, Biggley’s weasel of a nephew. Susan King, Los Angeles Times, "‘Mad Men’s’ Robert Morse revisits ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’," 13 Aug. 2019 The marten, a member of the weasel family, is not endangered, but its population levels are seen as a useful proxy for forest health. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires," 19 Aug. 2019 This particular English lion looks more like a weasel, while the German one seems more accurate. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World’ Review: Wondrous Records of Animal Lore," 15 June 2019 Meet a tayra, an animal that's part of the weasel family. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "You can train tigers, feed birds and climb to the top of a giant aquarium at the zoo's new tours," 31 July 2019 The group includes martens, weasels, badgers, honey badgers, otters, and sea otters. National Geographic, "As wolverines battle to survive, warming poses a new threat," 11 July 2019 Steamboat Lake Keep your eyes peeled for fox, mule deer, beavers, chipmunks, weasels and hundreds of species of birds at Steamboat Lake, roughly 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "18 places you can rent a boat in landlocked Colorado," 8 July 2019 If a woman was seen talking to or looking at ferrets, hedgehogs, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, weasels, snakes, owls, or insects, then that woman was a witch. Longreads, "Demonology: A Woman’s Right to Fury," 10 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Shortly after being committed, Sawyer becomes convinced that one member of the medical staff (Joshua Leonard) is actually her old stalker, having followed her to Pennsylvania, assumed a false name, and weaseled his way into a staff job. Scott Meslow, GQ, "Unsane Review: A Horror Movie About What It’s Like to Be a Woman," 22 Mar. 2018 While the idea of cybercriminals forking over a few bucks to weasel their way into a person's online accounts sounds scary, there are a couple simple cybersecurity practices that can keep everyone safe. Alyssa Newcomb /, NBC News, "Your identity is for sale on the dark web for less than $1,200," 12 Mar. 2018 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 Native to Asia, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug arrived in the United States in mid '90s, and have weaseled their way into 44 states since then, according to StopBMSB.org. Courtney Campbell, Country Living, "If Your Home Smells Like Rotting Cherries, It's Probably a Stink Bug Invasion," 29 Sep. 2017 This apparently is a big motivation in his hare-brained attempt to weasel out White House leakers, knowing how much more Trump cares about that than any of the actual responsibilities of being president. Luke Darby, GQ, "Trump Might Hate Jeff Sessions More Than Anyone Else Who Works for Him," 15 Sep. 2017

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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Statistics for weasel

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for weasel

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

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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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Comments on weasel

What made you want to look up weasel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

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