- a domesticated, usually red-eyed, and albinic variety of the polecat, used in Europe for driving rabbits and rats from their burrows.
- black-footed ferret.
verb (used with object)
- to drive out by using or as if using a ferret (often followed by out): to ferret rabbits from their burrows; to ferret out enemies.
- to hunt with ferrets.
- to hunt over with ferrets: to ferret a field.
- to search out, discover, or bring to light (often followed by out): to ferret out the facts.
- to harry, worry, or torment: His problems ferreted him day and night.
verb (used without object)
- to search about.
- a domesticated albino variety of the polecat Mustela putorius, bred for hunting rats, rabbits, etc
- an assiduous searcher
- black-footed ferret a musteline mammal, Mustela nigripes, of W North America, closely related to the weasels
verb -rets, -reting or -reted
- to hunt (rabbits, rats, etc) with ferrets
- (tr usually foll by out) to drive from hidingto ferret out snipers
- (tr usually foll by out) to find by persistent investigation
- (intr) to search around
- silk binding tape
early 15c., from ferret (n.), in reference to the use of half-tame ferrets to kill rats and flush rabbits from burrows; the extended sense of “search out, discover” is 1570s. Related: Ferreted; ferreting.
late 14c., from Old French furet, diminutive of fuiron “weasel, ferret,” literally “thief,” probably from Late Latin furionem (related to furonem “cat,” also “robber”), from Latin fur (genitive furis) “thief.”