from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A chiefly nocturnal European carnivorous mammal (Mustela putorius) of the weasel family that ejects a malodorous fluid to mark its territory and ward off enemies. Also called fitch.
- n. Any of various related mammals of Asia, especially Mustela eversmanni of central Asia.
- n. See skunk.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A weasel-like animal of the genus Mustela, notably the European polecat, Mustela putorius.
- n. A skunk.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A small European carnivore of the Weasel family (Putorius fœtidus). Its scent glands secrete a substance of an exceedingly disagreeable odor. Called also fitchet, foulmart, and European ferret.
- n. The zorilla. The name is also applied to other allied species.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The fitchew or foulmart, Putorius fœtidus of Europe, of a dark-brown color, with a copious fine pelage much used in furriery and for making artists' brushes. See fitch.
- n. One of several other quadrupeds, mostly of the family Mustelidæ, which have a strong offensive smell.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. dark brown mustelid of woodlands of Eurasia that gives off an unpleasant odor when threatened
- n. American musteline mammal typically ejecting an intensely malodorous fluid when startled; in some classifications put in a separate subfamily Mephitinae
He possessed all his teeth but one, and most of his hair as well, though his side-whiskers had lately broken out in polecat streaks of gray.
"The great peculiarity in one of these birds was that he, as the seasons succeeded each other, was not always a hen-cock, and not always of the colour called the polecat, which is black.
On one hunting expedition I caught an animal known as a polecat, and that betrayed me, because its scent got on the dogs.
The Life of Rev. Robert Anderson. Born the 22d Day of February, in the Year of Our Lord 1819, and Joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1839. This Book Shall Be Called the Young Men's Guide, Or, The Brother in White.
Its rind was said to exude a stench of so atrocious a nature that when a dorian was in the room even the presence of a polecat was a refreshment.
The hamsters are very fierce little creatures: constantly fighting with other quadrupeds, and even among themselves; but the polecat is their master and tyrant, and carries on a war of extermination against them -- following them through the intricate ways of their burrows, and destroying them even in their dens!
The name probably relates to a poor translation of the name for the European polecat, which is a relative of the fisher and is called the fitch ferret, fichet or fitche.
But, for reals, a polecat is a type of weasel or skunk.
And I especially like how "polecat" is just another word for "skunk."
Sorry to hijack this thread again - anyone found a new kind of polecat we could name after Bill?
Page 11 all joined with Dinkie in the belief that Mr. Sarpee "smelt sweeter," than when interred in the morning; still the smell of the "polecat" was there.