sable


sable

noun, plural sa·bles, (especially collectively for 1, 2) sa·ble.

  1. an Old World weasellike mammal, Mustela zibellina, of cold regions in Eurasia and the North Pacific islands, valued for its dark brown fur.
  2. a marten, especially Mustela americana.
  3. the fur of the sable.
  4. the color black, often being one of the heraldic colors.
  5. sables, mourning garments.

adjective

  1. of the heraldic color sable.
  2. made of the fur or hair of the sable.
  3. very dark; black.

noun

  1. Cape, a cape on a small island at the SW tip of Nova Scotia, Canada: lighthouse.
  2. Cape, a cape at the S tip of Florida.

noun plural -bles or -ble

  1. a marten, Martes zibellina, of N Asian forests, with dark brown luxuriant furRelated adjective: zibeline
    1. the highly valued fur of this animal
    2. (as modifier)a sable coat
  2. American sable the brown, slightly less valuable fur of the American marten, Martes americana
  3. the colour of sable fur: a dark brown to yellowish-brown colour

adjective

  1. of the colour of sable fur
  2. black; dark; gloomy
  3. (usually postpositive) heraldry of the colour black

noun Cape Sable

  1. a cape at the S tip of Florida: the southernmost point of continental US
  2. the southernmost point of Nova Scotia, Canada

n.1“fur or pelt of the European sable” (Martes zibellina), early 15c., from Middle French sable (also martre sable “sable martin”), in reference to the mammal or its fur, borrowed in Old French from Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch sabel, Middle Low German sabel, Middle High German zobel), ultimately from a Slavic source (cf. Russian, Czech sobol, Polish soból, the name of the animal), “which itself is borrowed from an East-Asiatic language” [Klein], but Russian sources (e.g. Vasmer) find none of the proposed candidates satisfactory. n.2“black” as a heraldic color, early 14c., commonly identified with sable (n.1), but the animal’s fur is brown and this may be a different word of unknown origin; or it might reflect a medieval custom (unattested) of dyeing sable fur black. As an adjective from late 14c. Emblematic of mourning or grief from c.1600; c.1800 as “black” with reference to Africans and their descendants, often with mock dignity.

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