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[wee-zuh l] /ˈwi zəl/
noun, plural weasels (especially collectively) weasel.
any small carnivore of the genus Mustela, of the family Mustelidae, having a long, slender body and feeding chiefly on small rodents.
any of various similar animals of the family Mustelidae.
a cunning, sneaky person.
a tracked vehicle resembling a tractor, used in snow.
Slang. an informer; stool pigeon.
verb (used without object)
to evade an obligation, duty, or the like; renege (often followed by out):
That's one invitation I'd like to weasel out of.
to use weasel words; be ambiguous; mislead:
Upon cross-examination the witness began to weasel.
Slang. to inform.
Origin of weasel
before 900; 1920-25 for def 6; Middle English wesele, Old English wesle, weosule; cognate with Old High German wisula, German Wiesel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for weasel out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mother used to say that all the worry in the world would never keep a weasel out of the hen-house.

    The Builders Ellen Glasgow
  • Bevis looked at him a little while, and then put his foot on the spring and pressed it down and took the weasel out.

    Wood Magic Richard Jefferies
  • The ambitious young man had slunk like a weasel out of this civil war into which he had heedlessly thrown himself.

  • The Conductor immediately threw the weasel out of the window, as ordered, and the Hatter resumed.

    Alice in Blunderland John Kendrick Bangs
  • If there be a doubt, I shall contrive to get the weasel out of the way.

    Pabo, The Priest Sabine Baring-Gould
  • Finally I went to the house for the gun, and when I returned found the weasel out chasing the hen again.

British Dictionary definitions for weasel out

weasel out

verb (intransitive, adverb) (informal) -sels, -selling, -selled (US) -seling, -seled
to go back on a commitment
to evade a responsibility, esp in a despicable manner


noun (pl) -sels, -sel
any of various small predatory musteline mammals of the genus Mustela and related genera, esp M. nivalis (European weasel), having reddish-brown fur, an elongated body and neck, and short legs
(informal) a sly or treacherous person
(mainly US) a motor vehicle for use in snow, esp one with caterpillar tracks
Derived Forms
weaselly, adjective
Word Origin
Old English weosule, wesle; related to Old Norse visla, Old High German wisula, Middle Dutch wesel
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 weasel out



Old English weosule, wesle "weasel," from Proto-Germanic *wisulon (cf. Old Norse visla, Middle Dutch wesel, Dutch wezel, Old High German wisula, German Wiesel), probably related to Proto-Germanic *wisand- "bison" (see bison), with a base sense of "stinking animal," because both animals have a foul, musky smell (cf. Latin vissio "stench"). A John Wesilheued ("John Weaselhead") turns up on the Lincolnshire Assize Rolls for 1384, but the name seems not to have endured, for some reason.


"to deprive (a word or phrase) of its meaning," 1900, from weasel (n.); so used because the weasel sucks out the contents of eggs, leaving the shell intact; the sense of "extricate oneself (from a difficult place) like a weasel" is first recorded 1925; that of "to evade and equivocate" is from 1956.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for weasel out

wear two hats

verb phrase

To have two separate jobs or functions •The phrase may specify more than two hats: three hats, several hats: Each of these men wears two hats: one as topbraid officer, the other as a member of the Joint Chiefs/ Rockefeller to Wear Two Hats (1966+)

wear the pants

verb phrase

To be the dominant one in a marriage, household, etc •Nearly always said of a woman

[1931+; wear the breeches can be traced to the 1400s in a French version (braies) and to the 1500s in English]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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weasel out in the Bible

(Heb. holedh), enumerated among unclean animals (Lev. 11:29). Some think that this Hebrew word rather denotes the mole (Spalax typhlus) common in Palestine. There is no sufficient reason, however, to depart from the usual translation. The weasel tribe are common also in Palestine.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with weasel out

weasel out

Back out of a situation or commitment, especially in a sneaky way. For example, I'd love to weasel out of serving on the board. This expression alludes to the stealthy hunting and nesting habits of the weasel, a small, slender-bodied predator. [ ; mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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