[ fer-it ]
/ ˈfɛr ɪt /


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

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

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

Examples from the Web for ferrety

British Dictionary definitions for ferrety


/ (ˈfɛrɪt) /


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




/ (ˈfɛrɪt) /


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 ferrety
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper