[pohl-kat] /ˈpoʊlˌkæt/

noun, plural polecats (especially collectively) polecat.
a European mammal, Mustela putorius, of the weasel family, having a blackish fur and ejecting a fetid fluid when attacked or disturbed.
Compare 1 (def 1).
any of various North American skunks.
noun (pl) -cats, -cat
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
any of various related animals, such as the marbled polecat,Vormela peregusna
(US) a nontechnical name for skunk (sense 1)

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.


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