nounpl. -·tens or -·ten
- any of a genus (Martes) of small musteline carnivores that live chiefly in trees and have a long, slender body, short legs, and soft, thick, valuable fur
- the fur
Origin of martenMiddle English martren from Old French martrine, adjective from martre, marten from Frankish an unverified form martar, akin to German marder, Old English mearth from Proto-Germanic an unverified form marthu- from Indo-European an unverified form martu-, bride (euphemism for the taboo Indo-European name); akin to an unverified form meri: see marry
nounpl. marten, or mar·tens
- Any of several mustelid mammals of the genus Martes, mainly inhabiting northern forests and having a slender body, bushy tail, and soft fur.
- The fur of one of these mammals.
Origin of martenMiddle English martrin, marten from Old French martrine from feminine of martrin relating to the marten from martre marten from Frankish martar from Proto-Germanic marthra perhaps originally “bride” and akin to Lithuanian marti bride Latin marītus married and possibly Crimean Gothic marzus wedding For the semantic development, compare Modern Greek nifítsa weasel ( from diminutive of nífi bride, daughter-in-law )Italian donnola weasel ( from diminutive of donna woman ) and Spanish comadreja weasel ( from deprecative diminutive of comadre mother of one's godchild, godmother of one's child )
Middle English martren, martryn, from Anglo-Norman martrine 'marten fur', from Old Low Franconian *marÃ¾rin 'of marten fur' (cf. Middle Dutch martren), from *marÃ¾ra 'marten' (compare Dutch marter), from Proto-Germanic *marÃ¾uz (compare Low German Mort, West Frisian murd 'polecat', Old English mearÃ¾ 'shrew'), originally 'wedding' (cf. Crimean Gothic marzus 'wedding'), from Proto-Indo-European *martus 'bride'. More at marry. For sense development, compare Italian donnola 'weasel', from donna 'lady', Greek nyfÃtsa 'weasel', from nymfÄ“ 'bride'.
- Archaic form of martin (the bird)