Definition of ermine in English:


Line breaks: er¦mine
Pronunciation: /ˈəːmɪn

noun (plural same or ermines)

  • 1A stoat, especially when in its white winter coat.
    More example sentences
    • Predators of erethizontids include mustelids such as martens, minks, wolverines, ermine, weasels, and fishers.
    • Vikka is quick to identify the tracks of wolverine, fox and ermine.
    • Arctic foxes, short-tailed weasels and ermines are some of the smaller carnivores found here.
  • 1.1 [mass noun] The white fur of the stoat, used for trimming garments, especially the ceremonial robes of judges or peers: the men were dressed in costly ermine and sable-edged cloaks
    More example sentences
    • In bygone days many stoats were slaughtered to provide skins for ermine robes.
    • On this throne sat a very distinguished-looking man dressed in a royal blue velvet robe trimmed with ermine over his tuxedo.
    • The robe is trimmed with ermine, which is the white winter coat of the stoat in northern regions of Europe.
  • 1.2 [mass noun] Heraldry Fur represented as black spots on a white ground, as a heraldic tincture: [postpositive]: on a canton ermine a lion rampant sable
    More example sentences
    • The coat of arms of the former duchy of Brittany is "Ermine", one of very few coats that are of one tincture only.
    • The coloring scheme of ermine can also be changed.
  • 2 (also ermine moth) A stout-bodied moth that has cream or white wings with black spots.
    • Genus Spilosoma, family Arctiidae: several species
    More example sentences
    • One teacher thought the caterpillars might belong to silk ermine moths, but we're not sure.
    • The buff ermine moth is so called because of its buff colouring.
    • The apple small ermine moth causes more or less serious defoliation at the tips of branches of apple trees.



More example sentences
  • And, in fairness to those ermined aristocrats, they could afford contempt.
  • If he has any brains at all, he'll make a speech this week telling these ermined layabouts to go climb a tree.
  • I do think, however that a ballot on the suitability of some newly ermined people would debar some before the ermine was purchased.


Middle English: from Old French hermine, probably from medieval Latin (mus) Armenius 'Armenian (mouse)'.

More definitions of ermine

Definition of ermine in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrə(ʊ)ˈgeɪʃ(ə)n
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space