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.

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 forms

fer·ret·er, nounfer·ret·y, adjectiveun·fer·ret·ed, adjectiveun·fer·ret·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for ferret out (1 of 2)

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 Forms

ferreter, nounferrety, adjective

Word Origin for ferret

C14: from Old French furet, from Latin fur thief

British Dictionary definitions for ferret out (2 of 2)

ferret

2

ferreting

/ (ˈfɛrɪt) /

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

Idioms and Phrases with ferret out

ferret out


Uncover and bring to light by searching, as in Sandy was a superb reporter, tireless in ferreting out whatever facts were needed for her story. This expression alludes to hunting with ferrets, weasel-like animals formerly used to drive rabbits out of their burrows. [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.