Pronunciation Noun

ferret (plural ferrets)

  1. An often domesticated mammal (Mustela putorius furo) rather like a weasel, descended from the polecat and often trained to hunt burrowing animals.
  2. The black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes.
  3. (figurative) A diligent searcher.
    • 1998 July 2, Charles Nicholl, "Screaming in the Castle" in the London Review of Books, Vol. XX, No. 13:
      The most challenging documentary discoveries were made by a tenacious archival ferret, Dr Antonio Bertoletti. In 1879 he published his findings in a slim, refreshingly dry volume, Francesco Cenci e la sua Famiglia.
Related terms Translations Verb

ferret (ferrets, present participle ferreting; past and past participle ferreted)

  1. To hunt game with ferrets.
  2. (by extension, ambitransitive) To uncover and bring to light by searching; usually to ferret out.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iv]:
      Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.
Translations Noun


  1. (dated) A tape of silk, cotton, or ribbon, used to tie documents, clothing, etc. or along the edge of fabric.
    • , Charles Dickens, Bleak House
      red tape and green ferret

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