Definition of weasel in English:


nounPlural weasels

  • 1A small, slender carnivorous mammal related to, but smaller than, the stoat.

    Genus Mustela, family Mustelidae (the weasel family): several species, in particular M. nivalis of northern Eurasia and northern North America. The family also includes the polecats, minks, martens, skunks, wolverine, otters, and badgers

    • ‘As mustelids - stoats, ferrets and weasels - were highly mobile and curious, it would be expected that if there were stoats on the island they would have encountered one of the tunnels or traps in their travels.’
    • ‘Mammals such as weasels, foxes, stoats and especially roe deer can wander safely without the risk of being killed by traffic.’
    • ‘Many small creatures such as snakes, lizards, weasels and stoats would also live in the hills, and bats would have lived in cliff caves.’
    • ‘Ten species of waterfowl nest around the lake; kestrels and buzzards can be spotted in the woodland; and brown hares, stoats, weasels, grey and red squirrels can also be seen.’
    • ‘Scientists are attempting to save birds like this one by translocating them to offshore islands free of introduced predators like rats, cats, stoats, and weasels.’
    • ‘The researchers say that nestlings in at least half of the nests they studied were eaten, mainly by martens and weasels.’
    • ‘A cousin of mink, martens, otters, stoats, weasels and distantly related to seals, badgers are one of our oldest indigenous animals, whose fossil remains have been found to belong to the same era as mammoths.’
    • ‘Preyed upon by hawks, foxes, and weasels, they may also fall victim to domestic cats.’
    • ‘Of these animals, only weasels, otters and mink remain widespread, and the weasel is the only one that is still abundant.’
    • ‘It also walks on the soles of its feet like a bear, but the resemblance ends there, as the badger is actually from the same family as otters and weasels.’
    • ‘Other animals spotted in Greater Manchester include otters, stoats and weasels.’
    • ‘Badgers are relatively large members of the weasel family.’
    • ‘The causes of its extinction remain unclear, but it is likely that rats, weasels, and cats played a role in its demise.’
    • ‘And I now know the difference between stoats and weasels.’
    • ‘The problems which concern those who care for the park mainly arise from introduced species - wasps, possums, stoats, weasels, and feral cats.’
    • ‘Voles are an important source of food for many predators, including snakes, hawks, owls, coyotes, weasels, foxes, mink and badgers.’
    • ‘I was born in this house and as a boy, I remember often seeing foxes, badgers and weasels around the place.’
    • ‘Also this period saw the appearance of the mastodons, raccoons, and weasels.’
    • ‘They are carnivores like the stoat, weasel, otter and badger.’
    • ‘Mammalian carnivores such as weasels and foxes catch voles by chasing or pouncing and are probably just as dangerous in dense cover as in sparse.’
    • ‘The black bears that once roamed Point Pelee National Park are now gone, but coyotes, red foxes, raccoons, opossums, weasels, and muskrat are still around.’
    1. 1.1Irish A stoat.
  • 2A deceitful or treacherous person.

    ‘he was a double-crossing weasel’
    • ‘They applied for and received deferments, like the little weasels they are.’
    • ‘Does the boss who scheduled your sadly abbreviated lunch break deserve to be called a weasel or a stoat?’
    • ‘By openly admitting to being philanderers, draft dodgers, liars, weasels and cowards, liberals avoid ever being hypocrites.’
    scoundrel, wretch, rogue
    View synonyms

verbweaselled, weasels, weaseling, weaselling, weaseled

[no object]
  • 1Achieve something by use of cunning or deceit.

    ‘she suspects me of trying to weasel my way into his affections’
    • ‘Also, it stars Michael Kitchen as a bloke who manages to weasel out of a murder, witnessed by the waitress at a party.’
    • ‘Our prime minister is currently trying to weasel out of a $161-million grant scandal, among other issues.’
    • ‘That little slut could weasel her way into anything.’
    • ‘Now, the bill is about to come due, and they're looking for ways to weasel out.’
    • ‘I was running low on enthusiasm - so low that Mandy had needed to take me and my children in her own car to stop me from weaseling out of the expedition - surely, I thought, there had not been enough rain for this pool to be particularly nice.’
    • ‘Becky Sharp exploits the weaknesses of those around her to weasel her way into society, but her own vanity is what drives her there to begin with.’
    • ‘I think she might have thought I was weaseling out of what we talked about earlier.’
    • ‘Progressives weasel out of it, by claiming being political would betray their values.’
    • ‘Each time it was necessary to take a clear position, for example on terrorism and suicide bombing, the conferees weaseled out with the help of demagogic pirouettes.’
    • ‘As for weaselling out of tough situations, stupidity covers well for brazenness.’
    • ‘I then tried to weasel my way into the audience's affection, assuring punters that if they laughed at all my gags everyone would get their money back on the way out.’
    • ‘This approach tries to weasel out of making any cross-cultural claims about what has value - although, notice, it does assume the universal value of opulence.’
    • ‘You can find a list of the organisations that have hired him here; mostly insurance companies looking to weasel out of industrial injuries compensation claims as far as we can see.’
    • ‘Celebrities have great appeal as political candidates, which explains why so many are weaselling into the political picture.’
    • ‘The conference, if it was about anything, was about restating these questions and systematically shooting down cheap attempts to weasel out of them.’
    • ‘Tell him to weasel his way into the affections of as many receptionists, secretaries and PAs as is humanly possible, since they always know how things work, and he may find that he has been trying to get hold of the wrong person.’
    • ‘What makes it worse is you're trying to help him weasel his way into dinner with me.’
    • ‘Except that when that happens, I conveniently find some bogus excuse or lame technicality to avoid paying your damages or to weasel my way into only paying part of them.’
    • ‘And then I started backpedalling and trying to weasel out of it, because I really hadn't expected him to say yes.’
    • ‘It's a way of (consciously or unconsciously) weaseling out of actually taking responsibility for your actions.’
    1. 1.1North American Behave or talk evasively.
      ‘we needed him to take a firm stand, but he weaselled’


Old English wesle, wesule, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch wezel and German Wiesel.