Share this entry

Share this page

ermine

Syllabification: er·mine
Pronunciation: /ˈərmən
 
/

Definition of ermine in English:

noun (plural same or ermines)

1A stoat, especially when in its white winter coat.
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.
1.1The white fur of the stoat, used for trimming garments, especially the ceremonial robes of judges or peers.
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 Heraldry Fur represented as black spots on a white ground, as a heraldic tincture.
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, and a very hairy caterpillar.
  • Family Arctiidae: several genera and species
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.

Origin

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

More
  • This is from Old French hermine, probably from medieval Latin (mus) Armenius ‘Armenian (mouse)’. White ermine fur is the winter coat of the common weasel, and it needs dependable snowfall, such as is found in Armenia, for the coat to turn white.

Derivatives

ermined

1
adjective
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.

Words that rhyme with ermine

determine, vermin

Definition of ermine in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day odium
Pronunciation: ˈōdēəm
noun
widespread hatred or disgust for someone…