noun, plural er·mines, (especially collectively) er·mine.
- an Old World weasel, Mustela erminea, having in its winter color phase a white coat with black at the tip of the tail.Compare stoat.
- any of various weasels having a white winter coat.
- the lustrous, white, winter fur of the ermine, often having fur from the animal’s black tail tip inserted at intervals for contrast.
- the rank, position, or status of a king, peer, or judge, especially one in certain European countries who wears, or formerly wore, a robe trimmed with ermine, as on official or state occasions.
- Heraldry. a fur, consisting of a conventional representation of tails, often with a pattern of dots, sable on argent.
- made of, covered, or adorned with ermine.
noun plural -mines or -mine
- the stoat in northern regions, where it has a white winter coat with a black-tipped tail
- the fur of this animal
- one of the two principal furs used on heraldic shields, conventionally represented by a white field flecked with black ermine tailsCompare vair
- the dignity or office of a judge, noble, or king
- short for ermine moth
late 12c., from Old French ermine (12c., Modern French hermine), both the animal and the fur, apparently from a convergence of Latin (mus) Armenius “Armenian (mouse),” ermines being abundant in Asia Minor; and an unrelated Germanic word for “weasel” (cf. Old High German harmo “ermine, stoat, weasel,” adj. harmin; Old Saxon harmo, Old English hearma “shrew,” etc.) that happened to sound like it.