noun, plural wea·sels, (especially collectively) wea·sel.
verb (used without object)
Origin of weasel
Related Words for weasel outannul, revoke, backtrack, repudiate, contradict, renounce, disavow, renege, retract, disown, rescind, cancel, surrender, default, reverse, invalidate, void, dismantle, abolish, nullify
verb -sels, -selling or -selled or US -seling or -seled (intr, adverb) informal
noun plural -sels or -sel
Word Origin for weasel
"to deprive (a word or phrase) of its meaning," 1900, from weasel (n.); so used because the weasel sucks out the contents of eggs, leaving the shell intact; the sense of "extricate oneself (from a difficult place) like a weasel" is first recorded 1925; that of "to evade and equivocate" is from 1956.
Old English weosule, wesle "weasel," from Proto-Germanic *wisulon (cf. Old Norse visla, Middle Dutch wesel, Dutch wezel, Old High German wisula, German Wiesel), probably related to Proto-Germanic *wisand- "bison" (see bison), with a base sense of "stinking animal," because both animals have a foul, musky smell (cf. Latin vissio "stench"). A John Wesilheued ("John Weaselhead") turns up on the Lincolnshire Assize Rolls for 1384, but the name seems not to have endured, for some reason.
Back out of a situation or commitment, especially in a sneaky way. For example, I'd love to weasel out of serving on the board. This expression alludes to the stealthy hunting and nesting habits of the weasel, a small, slender-bodied predator. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]