noun, plural mar·tens, (especially collectively) mar·ten.

any of several slender, chiefly arboreal carnivores of the genus Martes, of northern forests, having a long, glossy coat and bushy tail.
the fur of such an animal, generally a dark brown.

Origin of marten

1375–1425; < Middle Low German, equivalent to mart marten (cognate with Old English mearth) + -en -en5; replacing late Middle English martren < Middle French martrine marten fur, noun use of feminine of martrin pertaining to a marten, equivalent to martre marten (< Germanic; compare German Marder) + -in -in1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for marten

Contemporary Examples of marten

Historical Examples of marten

  • His bed was in an attic, next door to his big cousin Marten's room.

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

  • So saying, she was going to push the door to, when she saw poor little Marten.

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

  • There were two methods followed in setting the marten traps.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf

    Dillon Wallace

  • Then he will return to the Great Lake and trap the marten and the mink.

    The Gaunt Gray Wolf

    Dillon Wallace

  • Then addressing the woman: "Poor Marten," said he, "feast on the game I have brought."

    The Indian Fairy Book

    Cornelius Mathews

British Dictionary definitions for marten


noun plural -tens or -ten

any of several agile arboreal musteline mammals of the genus Martes, of Europe, Asia, and North America, having bushy tails and golden brown to blackish furSee also pine marten
the highly valued fur of these animals, esp that of M. americana

Word Origin for marten

C15: from Middle Dutch martren, from Old French (peau) martrine skin of a marten, from martre, probably of Germanic origin
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 marten

mid-13c., "skin or fur of the marten," from Old French martrine "marten fur," noun use of fem. adjective martrin "of or pertaining to the marten," from martre "marten," from Frankish *martar or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *marthuz (cf. Old Saxon marthrin "of or pertaining to the marten," Old Frisian merth, Middle Dutch maerter, Dutch marter, Old High German mardar, German Marder, Old English mearþ, Old Norse mörðr "marten"), probably from PIE *martu- "bride," perhaps on some fancied resemblance, or else a Germanic euphemism for the real name of the animal, which might have been taboo.

In Middle English the animal itself typically was called marter, directly from Old French martre, but marten took over this sense in English c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper