Definition of weasel in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈwēzəl/


1A small, slender, carnivorous mammal related to, but generally smaller than, the stoat.
Example sentences
  • A cousin of mink, martens, otters, stoats, weasels and distantly related to seals, badgers are one of our oldest indigenous animals, whose fossil remains have been found to belong to the same era as mammoths.
  • Mammals such as weasels, foxes, stoats and especially roe deer can wander safely without the risk of being killed by traffic.
  • Mammalian carnivores such as weasels and foxes catch voles by chasing or pouncing and are probably just as dangerous in dense cover as in sparse.
2 informal A deceitful or treacherous person.
Example sentences
  • By openly admitting to being philanderers, draft dodgers, liars, weasels and cowards, liberals avoid ever being hypocrites.
  • Does the boss who scheduled your sadly abbreviated lunch break deserve to be called a weasel or a stoat?
  • They applied for and received deferments, like the little weasels they are.
informal swine, bastard, creep, louse, rat, ratfink, toad, snake, snake in the grass, serpent, viper, skunk, dog, cur, scumbag, scumbucket, scuzzball, sleazeball, sleazebag, slimeball, sneak, backstabber, heel, nogoodnik, nasty piece of work
dated cad
archaic blackguard, knave, varlet

verb (weasels, weaseling, weaseled ; British weasels, weaselling, weaselled)

[no object]
1Achieve something by use of cunning or deceit: she suspects me of trying to weasel my way into his affections
More example sentences
  • Tell him to weasel his way into the affections of as many receptionists, secretaries and PAs as is humanly possible, since they always know how things work, and he may find that he has been trying to get hold of the wrong person.
  • Except that when that happens, I conveniently find some bogus excuse or lame technicality to avoid paying your damages or to weasel my way into only paying part of them.
  • I then tried to weasel my way into the audience's affection, assuring punters that if they laughed at all my gags everyone would get their money back on the way out.
1.1chiefly North American Behave or talk evasively.



Pronunciation: /ˈwēz(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Choose between the weaselly compromises most of us try in an attempt to be healthier and a radically pure approach that will have you forking out enormous sums of money on food supplements.
  • I suppose this reflects what she really thinks, as opposed to the similar but more weaselly language crafted by lawyers for the law school's website.
  • You know, Kyra, sometimes I worry that I give weaselly answers.


Old English wesle, wesule; related to Dutch wezel and German Wiesel.

  • The sneaky characteristics of this animal were not transferred to people until the late 16th century. Its bad reputation comes from the belief that weasels creep into birds' nests and suck the contents out of their eggs, leaving the empty shell behind. This lies behind the originally US phrase weasel words (early 20th century) for words used to reduce the force of a concept being expressed; the more general verb sense ‘extricate’ (weaselled his way out of doing the chores) arose in the 1950s.

Words that rhyme with weasel

diesel, easel, teasel

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wea·sel

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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