Er"mine (?), n. [OF. ermine, F. hermine, prob. of German origin; cf. OHG. harmo, G. hermelin, akin to Lith. szarm, szarmonys, weasel, cf. AS. hearma; but cf. also LL. armelinus, armellina, hermellina, and pellis Armenia, the fur of the Armenian rat, mus Armenius, the animal being found also in Armenia.]

1. Zool.

A valuable fur-bearing animal of the genus Mustela (M. erminea), allied to the weasel; the stoat. It is found in the northern parts of Asia, Europe, and America. In summer it is brown, but in winter it becomes white, except the tip of the tail, which is always black.

2.

The fur of the ermine, as prepared for ornamenting garments of royalty, etc., by having the tips of the tails, which are black, arranged at regular intervals throughout the white.

3.

By metonymy, the office or functions of a judge, whose state robe, lined with ermine, is emblematical of purity and honor without stain.

Chatham.

4. Her.

One of the furs. See Fur Her.

Ermine is represented by an argent field, tufted with black. Ermines is the reverse of ermine, being black, spotted or timbered with argent. Erminois is the same as ermine, except that or is substituted for argent.

Ermine moth Zool., a white moth with black spots (esp. Yponomeuta padella of Europe); -- so called on account of the resemblance of its covering to the fur of the ermine; also applied to certain white bombycid moths of America.

 

© Webster 1913.


Er"mine, v. t.

To clothe with, or as with, ermine.

The snows that have ermined it in the winter. Lowell.

 

© Webster 1913.

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