a small Eurasian musteline mammal, Mustela erminea, closely related to the weasels, having a brown coat and a black-tipped tail: in the northern parts of its range it has a white winter coat and is then known as an ermine
c.1460, stote "ermine in its summer coat of brown," of uncertain origin. The word bears resemblance to O.N. stutr "bull," Swed. stut "bull," Dan. stud "ox," but the sense is difficult unless a common notion is "male animal."