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[mahr-tn] /ˈmɑr tn/
noun, plural martens (especially collectively) marten.
any of several slender, chiefly arboreal carnivores of the genus Martes, of northern forests, having a long, glossy coat and bushy tail.
the fur of such an animal, generally a dark brown.
Origin of marten
1375-1425; < Middle Low German, equivalent to mart marten (cognate with Old English mearth) + -en -en5; replacing late Middle English martren < Middle French martrine marten fur, noun use of feminine of martrin pertaining to a marten, equivalent to martre marten (< Germanic; compare German Marder) + -in -in1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for marten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Otherwise the marten are as well furred and as rich and deep in color as the far-famed Labrador ones.

    Canadian Wilds Martin Hunter
  • However, he is even livelier in the trees than is Spite the marten.

  • Coon would carry him away, so would fox or wildcat, and a marten would not come into the building by night.

    Rolf In The Woods Ernest Thompson Seton
  • Not long after the marten came by on the look out for his supper.

  • At this the man was very indignant, and so they arranged to punish the marten.

    Algonquin Indian Tales Egerton R. Young
  • The marten laughed and answered: 'Did you ever hear anything so strange?

  • His bed was in an attic, next door to his big cousin marten's room.

    The Fairchild Family Mary Martha Sherwood
  • October 10th we began to set traps for marten, ermine and wolf.

    Black Beaver James Campbell Lewis
  • Farther north the marten have longer fur, but not finer than you will find here, so that they bring just as good prices.

British Dictionary definitions for marten


noun (pl) -tens, -ten
any of several agile arboreal musteline mammals of the genus Martes, of Europe, Asia, and North America, having bushy tails and golden brown to blackish fur See also pine marten
the highly valued fur of these animals, esp that of M. americana
See also sable (sense 1)
Word Origin
C15: from Middle Dutch martren, from Old French (peau) martrine skin of a marten, from martre, probably of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for marten

mid-13c., "skin or fur of the marten," from Old French martrine "marten fur," noun use of fem. adjective martrin "of or pertaining to the marten," from martre "marten," from Frankish *martar or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *marthuz (cf. Old Saxon marthrin "of or pertaining to the marten," Old Frisian merth, Middle Dutch maerter, Dutch marter, Old High German mardar, German Marder, Old English mearþ, Old Norse mörðr "marten"), probably from PIE *martu- "bride," perhaps on some fancied resemblance, or else a Germanic euphemism for the real name of the animal, which might have been taboo.

In Middle English the animal itself typically was called marter, directly from Old French martre, but marten took over this sense in English c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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