fitch vs polecat what difference

what is difference between fitch and polecat


Etymology 1

Shortening of fitchew.


fitch (plural fitches)

  1. The European polecat, Mustela putorius.
  2. The skin of the polecat

Etymology 2

See vetch.



  1. (obsolete) A word found in the Authorized Version of the Bible, representing different Hebrew originals. In Isaiah xxviii. 25, 27, it means the black aromatic seeds of Nigella sativa. In Ezekiel iv. 9, the Revised Version now reads “spelt”.



From Middle French pole (hen) + cat. Origin unknown, possible explanations include its fondness for poultry, or the Old English word fol, “foul”, because of its smell. The same species was also known as folmart, “foul martin”.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpəʊlkæt/


polecat (plural polecats)

  1. A weasel-like animal of the genus Mustela.
    1. notably, the European polecat, Mustela putorius.
      • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 61
        By the little garden pergola open to the winds some fluttered peacocks were blotted nervelessly amid the dripping trees, their heads sunk back beneath their wings: while in the pergola itself, like a fallen storm-cloud, lolled a negress, her levelled, polecat eyes semi-veiled by the nebulous alchemy of the rainbow.
      Synonyms: fitch, foumart
  2. (US, dialects, including Appalachia) A skunk.
  3. (television) A tubular device used to support lights on a set.
    • 1991, Gerald Millerson, The Technique of Lighting for Television and Film (page 323)
      This is adjustable telescopic tubing, wedged securely between floor and ceiling (vertical pole) or wall-to-wall (horizontal pole), within corridors, arches, window openings, doorways, etc. It may be held in position by a strong internal spring or end-screws. Designs include polecat, varipole, barricuda, jack tube, Acrow.
    • 2013, Alan Bermingham, Location Lighting for Television (page 196)
      This uses a battery-operated HMI/MSR 200 W rigged on a magic arm fastened to a vertical ‘pole-cat’. Check that the car roof is suitable for this application and remember to include a clean card (beer mat) between the top of the pole-cat and the car roof!

Derived terms


Further reading

  • polecat on Wikipedia.Wikipedia


  • colpate, pot lace

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