- 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, pertaining to the marten, from martre, marten) and from Medieval Latin martr&imacron;na, both of Germanic origin.
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)