des·​man | \ ˈdezmən \
plural -s

Definition of desman

1a : an aquatic insectivorous mammal (Desmana moschata) of Russia that resembles a mole
b : a related animal (Galemys pyrenaicus) of the Pyrenees
2 : the fur or pelt of a desman

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History and Etymology for desman

short for Swedish desmansråtta, from desman musk (from Middle Low German desem, dessmer) + råtta rat; akin to Old English disma musk, Old Saxon desemo, Middle High German tiseme, tesem, all from a prehistoric West Germanic word borrowed from Medieval Latin bisamum musk, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew beśem pleasant aroma

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Cite this Entry

“Desman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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