- a domesticated, usually red-eyed, and albinic variety of the polecat, used in Europe for driving rabbits and rats from their burrows.
- black-footed ferret.
- to drive out by using or as if using a ferret (often followed by out): to ferret rabbits from their burrows; to ferret out enemies.
- to hunt with ferrets.
- to hunt over with ferrets: to ferret a field.
- to search out, discover, or bring to light (often followed by out): to ferret out the facts.
- to harry, worry, or torment: His problems ferreted him day and night.
- to search about.
Origin of ferret1
- a narrow tape or ribbon, as of silk or cotton, used for binding, trimming, etc.
Origin of ferret2
Examples from the Web for ferret
Ferret is a carefully chosen comparison, implying diligence but absolutely no imagination.Sherlock Holmes Vs. Jack the Ripper
November 16, 2014
That alone provides a powerful incentive for civil society to try to ferret out the numbers.U.S. Drone Program Needs to Be Accompanied by Hard Facts on Civilian Deaths
November 8, 2013
They were used to ferret rebel fighters out of their strongholds.When Liberals Enable Tyrants
September 6, 2013
Reich, the former American diplomat, says he thinks Morales might just be crazy enough to ferret Snowden to La Paz.Is Edward Snowden Bound for Bolivia? Evo Morales Sure Seems to Hope So
Eli Lake, Mac Margolis
July 2, 2013
Lots of people at SAC work extremely hard to ferret out good investing ideas.The Insider-Trading Cloud Hanging Over SAC Capital’s Steven A. Cohen
November 27, 2012
His ferret eyes searched the apartment; he seemed counting every article.The Bacillus of Beauty
Satisfied, now, that there was imposture, he resolved to ferret it out.
Also, a ferret's muzzle, and a twist of tarry string, still faintly aromatic.The Golden Age
The postman had been watching Pete out of the corners of his ferret eyes.The Manxman
“How rude of me-my name is Ferret R. Fable,” he said as he bowed.FreeChildrenStories.com Collection
- a domesticated albino variety of the polecat Mustela putorius, bred for hunting rats, rabbits, etc
- an assiduous searcher
- black-footed ferret a musteline mammal, Mustela nigripes, of W North America, closely related to the weasels
- to hunt (rabbits, rats, etc) with ferrets
- (tr usually foll by out) to drive from hidingto ferret out snipers
- (tr usually foll by out) to find by persistent investigation
- (intr) to search around
- silk binding tape
Word Origin and History for ferret
late 14c., from Old French furet, diminutive of fuiron "weasel, ferret," literally "thief," probably from Late Latin furionem (related to furonem "cat," also "robber"), from Latin fur (genitive furis) "thief."
early 15c., from ferret (n.), in reference to the use of half-tame ferrets to kill rats and flush rabbits from burrows; the extended sense of "search out, discover" is 1570s. Related: Ferreted; ferreting.