ermine(redirected from ermine moths)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
1. A weasel (Mustela erminea) native to northern regions, having a black-tipped tail and dark brown fur that in winter changes to white. Also called stoat.
2. The commercially valuable white fur of this animal.
[Middle English ermin, from Old French ermine, hermine, possibly of Germanic origin (compare Old High German harmīn, of ermine, from harmo, ermine; akin to Lithuanian šarma, hoarfrost, and šermuo, šarmuo, ermine (the ermine being the animal with the "snowy" white coat)) or from Latin Armenius, Armenian (from the medieval belief that ermine pelts came from Armenia and were obtained from a furry animal that Pliny the Elder called in Latin mūs Pontica, literally "Pontic mouse," once thought to be the ermine).]
n, pl -mines or -mine
1. (Animals) the stoat in northern regions, where it has a white winter coat with a black-tipped tail
2. (Textiles) the fur of this animal
3. (Heraldry) one of the two principal furs used on heraldic shields, conventionally represented by a white field flecked with black ermine tails. Compare vair
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the dignity or office of a judge, noble, or king
5. (Animals) short for ermine moth
[C12: from Old French hermine, from Medieval Latin Armenius (mūs) Armenian (mouse)]
n., pl. -mines, (esp. collectively) -mine for 1,2.
1. a weasel of the Northern Hemisphere, Mustela erminea, having a white coat with a black-tipped tail in the winter.
2. any of various weasels having a white winter coat.
3. the white winter fur of the ermine, often including the black tail tip.
4. the rank or position of a king, peer, or judge who wears a robe trimmed with ermine on official or state occasions.
[1150–1200; Middle English < Old French (h)ermine, n. use of feminine of (h)ermin (masculine adj.) < Medieval Latin Armenius, short for Armenius (mūs) Armenian (rat)]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||ermine - the expensive white fur of the ermine|
|2.||ermine - mustelid of northern hemisphere in its white winter coat|
weasel - small carnivorous mammal with short legs and elongated body and neck
stoat - the ermine in its brown summer coat with black-tipped tail