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The sable, a small quadruped, closely akin to the martens, and known by the zoological name of Mustela zibellina, originated in Siberia and has achieved fame for its fur.

The name sable appears to be Slavonic in origin: compare Russian sobol, whence various languages have adapted the term, compare German Zobel, Dutch Sabel; the Modern French zibelline and Mediaeval Latin zibellina derive from the Italian form. The English and Mediaeval Latin word sabellum comes from the Old French sable or saible.

Original text from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The sable's black fur has given heraldry the term sable, meaning the colour black. See tincture (heraldry).