weasel

noun
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

weasel

verb
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

Noun

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

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 In preparing for this possibility, Mr. Guaidó doesn’t have to worry only about Mr. Maduro’s supporters but also about the weasels who want to seize control of the opposition movement. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Power and Money in Venezuela," 10 Feb. 2019 Elil are rabbit’s natural enemies — cats and dogs, weasels and hawks, men, all grouped as the Thousand. Peter Rock, New York Times, "On the Unsettling Allure of ‘Watership Down’," 15 May 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

1900, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for weasel

Noun

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

Verb

weasel word

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Statistics for weasel

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for weasel

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

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More Definitions for weasel

weasel

noun

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

weasel

noun
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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More from Merriam-Webster on weasel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with weasel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weasel

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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