1 [always + adverb/preposition] informal
to search for something that is lost or hidden among a lot of things or inside a drawer, box etc
He started ferreting around in his desk.
She ferreted in her bag for a pen.
to hunt rats and rabbits using a ferret
ferret somebody/something ↔ outphrasal verb
to succeed in finding something such as a piece of information, that is difficult to find:
It's been difficult for reporters to ferret out the facts in this case.
Uncle Vernon ferreted out the laundry box from under the stairs.
2 American English
to find and usually get rid of someone who is causing a problem:
The new program is meant to ferret out problem cops.