ferret

1
[ fer-it ]
/ ˈfɛr ɪt /

noun

a domesticated, usually red-eyed, and albinic variety of the polecat, used in Europe for driving rabbits and rats from their burrows.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to search about.

Nearby words

  1. ferrein's pyramid,
  2. ferrel's law,
  3. ferreous,
  4. ferrero,
  5. ferrero, guglielmo,
  6. ferret badger,
  7. ferret out,
  8. ferri-,
  9. ferriage,
  10. ferric

Origin of ferret

1
1350–1400; Middle English fer(r)et(te), fyret, furet < Middle French furet < Vulgar Latin *furittus, equivalent to fūr thief (< Latin) + -ittus -et

Related formsfer·ret·er, nounfer·ret·y, adjectiveun·fer·ret·ed, adjectiveun·fer·ret·ing, adjective

ferret

2
[ fer-it ]
/ ˈfɛr ɪt /

noun

a narrow tape or ribbon, as of silk or cotton, used for binding, trimming, etc.

Origin of ferret

2
1570–80; alteration of Italian fioretto floss silk, literally, little flower, equivalent to fior(e) (< Latin flōrem; see flower) + -etto -et

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ferret


British Dictionary definitions for ferret

ferret

1
/ (ˈfɛrɪt) /

noun

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

verb -rets, -reting or -reted

Derived Formsferreter, nounferrety, adjective

Word Origin for ferret

C14: from Old French furet, from Latin fur thief

noun

silk binding tape

Word Origin for ferret

C16: from Italian fioretti floss silk, plural of fioretto : a little flower, from fiore flower, from Latin flōs

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ferret
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper