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To discover or retrieve something, usually with careful effort. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ferret" and "out." Now that I'm a successful actress, I'm worried about what the media will ferret out about my tawdry past.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
ferret something out (from something)
Fig. to fetch something out from something. We will have to ferret the mouse out from behind the stove. We can ferret out the mouse with the aid of the cat.
ferret something out (of someone or something)and ferret something out
Fig. to get, remove, or retrieve something from someone or something, usually with cunning and persistence. I tried very hard, but I couldn't ferret the information out of the clerk. I had to ferret out the answers one by one.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Uncover and bring to light by searching, as in Sandy was a superb reporter, tireless in ferreting out whatever facts were needed for her story . This expression alludes to hunting with ferrets, weasel-like animals formerly used to drive rabbits out of their burrows. [c. 1600]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To uncover or extract something by searching or questioning: The detective ferreted out the sequence of events by questioning all of the witnesses. We ferreted the truth out after we finished our investigation.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.