brown rat

noun

: a common domestic rat (Rattus norvegicus) that has been introduced worldwide

called also Norway rat

Examples of brown rat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The two most widespread and infamous rat species are the black rat (Rattus rattus) and brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). WIRED, 7 Oct. 2023 The Vancouver Rat Project found that, in a typical day, the city’s brown rats stay within the length of a city block. WIRED, 7 Oct. 2023 To get an idea of the parasite’s whereabouts, scientists studied 33 wild brown rats found dead in an Atlanta zoo between 2019 and 2022. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Sep. 2023 The city’s rat is a Rattus norvegicus, also known as the brown rat, wharf rat, or sewer rat. Madeleine Schwartz, The New York Review of Books, 27 July 2023 Unlike the brown rat, the black rat is known to have carried plague through fleas on its body. Madeleine Schwartz, The New York Review of Books, 27 July 2023 Perhaps in part because of this, brown rats have been found to consistently prefer rewards that benefit others, as opposed to just themselves. Oliver Whang, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2023 The past decade has seen a boom in descriptions of unexpected pollinators, including lizards, opossums, brown rats and cockroaches. Asher Elbein, Scientific American, 6 May 2023 Humans brought brown rats to North America, destroyed the habitat of potential predators and created environments where rats could thrive. Oliver Whang, New York Times, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brown rat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1737, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brown rat was in 1737

Dictionary Entries Near brown rat

Cite this Entry

“Brown rat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brown%20rat. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

brown rat

noun
: the common rat that is found about human dwellings

Medical Definition

brown rat

noun
: a common domestic rat of the genus Rattus (R. norvegicus) that has been introduced worldwide

called also Norway rat

More from Merriam-Webster on brown rat

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!