Word Origin & History
mid-13c., "skin or fur of the marten," from O.Fr. martrine, noun use of fem. adj. martrin "of or pertaining to the marten," from martre "marten," from Frank. *martar, from P.Gmc. *marthuz (cf. O.S. marthrin "of or pertaining to the marten," O.Fris. merth, O.E. mearþ, O.N. mörðr "marten"),
probably from PIE *martu- "bride," perhaps on some fancied resemblance, or else a Gmc. euphemism for the real name of the animal, which may have been taboo. In M.E. the animal itself was called marter, directly from O.Fr. martre, but marten took over this sense in English c.1400.