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polecat

[pohl-kat] /ˈpoʊlˌkæt/
noun, plural polecats (especially collectively) polecat.
1.
a European mammal, Mustela putorius, of the weasel family, having a blackish fur and ejecting a fetid fluid when attacked or disturbed.
Compare ferret1 (def 1).
2.
any of various North American skunks.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English polcat, perhaps equivalent to Middle French pol, poul chicken (< Latin pullus) + cat1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for polecat
  • And towering over such marauders as the otter, polecat, bat and fox are two magnificent species of eagle.
British Dictionary definitions for polecat

polecat

/ˈpəʊlˌkæt/
noun (pl) -cats, -cat
1.
Also called (formerly) foumart. a dark brown musteline mammal, Mustela putorius, of woodlands of Europe, Asia, and N Africa, that is closely related to but larger than the weasel and gives off an unpleasant smell See also sweet marten
2.
any of various related animals, such as the marbled polecat,Vormela peregusna
3.
(US) a nontechnical name for skunk (sense 1)
Word Origin
C14 polcat, perhaps from Old French pol cock, from Latin pullus, + cat1; from its habit of preying on poultry
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 polecat
n.

early 14c., from cat (n.); the first element is perhaps Anglo-French pol, from Old French poule "fowl, hen" (see pullet (n.)); so called because it preys on poultry [Klein]. The other alternative is that the first element is from Old French pulent "stinking," for obvious reasons. Originally the European Putorius foetidus; also applied to related U.S. skunks since 1680s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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