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name for a number of northern species of weaselweasel,
name for certain small, lithe, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae (weasel family). Members of this family are generally characterized by long bodies and necks, short legs, small rounded ears, and medium to long tails.
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 having white coats in winter, and highly prized for their white fur. It most commonly refers to the white phase of Mustela erminea, called short-tailed weasel in North America and stoat in the Old World. The white pelts are made into wraps, coats, and trimmings. The black-tipped tails are used in the United States as ornament, and in Europe they were used with the ermine of royal robes.



(Mustela erminea), a valuable fur-bearing animal of the family Mustelidae. In summer the fur is rusty brown and in winter, snow-white; the tip of the tail is black year-round. The male’s body is about 25 cm long (the female’s is somewhat shorter), and the tail reaches 10 cm.

The ermine is widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and North America; it is found in almost the entire territory of the USSR, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to approximately the deserts of Middle Asia. The animal lives most often in river valleys, near lakes or reed thickets, but it is also found in forests, coppices, mines, and fields. Sometimes the ermine settles near human dwellings. It is extremely mobile: it swims and climbs trees. Its prey is usually murine rodents and small birds. Sometimes it attacks larger animals, such as the caper-caillie or rabbit.

The ermine mates during the second half of the summer, but the embryo begins to form at the end of the winter; the young are born in the spring. Ermines usually produce five to eight offspring (sometimes more). They are born blind and almost bare; their eyes open within approximately 30 days; by the end of the summer the young reach sexual maturity. In years when there are few rodents, the number of ermines decrease. They are useful in eradicating murine rodents. Ermines are hunted (their fur is used for decoration).


Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2, part 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1967.


fur which represents nobility. [Heraldry: Halberts, 13]
See: Dignity


winter stoat; said to die if whiteness is soiled. [Art: Hall, 115]


1. the stoat in northern regions, where it has a white winter coat with a black-tipped tail
2. the fur of this animal
3. the dignity or office of a judge, noble, or king
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With a ban on refuelling from next year, it means another radical redesign is required, and Ferrari are detS ermined that they will not be found wanting again as they were this year.
Not for a power, that knows not check, To spread and float an ermined pall Of Empire from the ruined wall Of royal Delhi to Quebec.
CHELSEA'S title defence is being ermined by a es of explosive rows between manager Jose ourinho and his players.
It is the story of the Carta and the evolution of British common law, of the English and other European settlers who landed at Jamestown and claimed New Netherland, New France and New England for their monarchs, then tamed the wilderness in the East, built the 13 colonies, staged the Boston Tea Party, fired the shot heard round the world, and tossed off the ermined arm of the British sovereign.
Flatness is det ermined by measuring the strip's distortion using a 120-cm steel flat bar as reference.
Political factors det ermined the allocation scheme, and politicians have been reluctant to importantly change interstate distributions.
On the other side, the internal marketing activities (especially the training of frontliners) should be enhanced their effectiveness, as the evaluation on service quality will be det ermined by the interactions taking place between customers and the frontliners.