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

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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 Live your life like a weasel on a trampoline: That is, with pure joy. Matt Delong, Star Tribune, "TALKERS012521," 25 Jan. 2021 After four years, more than 5,000 groups and tribes — Maori iwi — have registered to do predator control in their communities, and 117 islands have been declared free not just of the weasel-like stoats but of possums, rats and mice. Naomi Arnold, Washington Post, "An island nation's audacious effort to save its unique wildlife," 31 Dec. 2020 If a weasel sees its shadow on a golf course in November, that means six more weeks of denial. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1414: Divining comedy — the year in preview," 10 Dec. 2020 Hidden among rocky mountain vistas and dark stands of lodge pole timber live pine marten; small weasel-like creatures with dark fur and an insatiable appetite for just about anything edible. Toby Walrath, Outdoor Life, "Riding With the Marten Men," 7 Dec. 2020 Dinklage is good as an unctuous weasel (not literal, which seems worth pointing out in a movie like this) and Mann is funny as the arrogant neighbor everyone on the block hates, except this is before neighbors and blocks. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and Nicolas Cage make 'The Croods: A New Age' rock — almost," 24 Nov. 2020 But the controversy over Toobin has nothing to do with the quality of his work and relatively little to do with his having gone unintentionally public with his private weasel-management struggles. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Jeffrey Toobin and Our Public-Hate Ritual," 20 Oct. 2020 Yesterday, roughly 10 days after farmers in Utah reported a rash of mink deaths, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 virus had infected the weasel-like mammals, which are raised for their fur. Eli Cahan, Science | AAAS, "COVID-19 hits U.S. mink farms after ripping through Europe," 18 Aug. 2020 This dog-size weasel, which grows to about 30 pounds, has daggerlike claws and jaws strong enough to tear apart a frozen moose carcass. Smithsonian Magazine, "Beasts of the Northern Wild," 10 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Cohen, Manafort and Midterms," 22 Aug. 2018 Now this doctor just said Rona probably weaseled her way in. Adiba Nelson, Washington Post, "‘Rona needs to stay away. Too many people need me.," 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, "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

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

4 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Weasel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weasel. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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
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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