noun des·man \ˈdezmən\

Definition of desman



  1. 1a :  an aquatic insectivorous mammal (Desmana moschata) of Russia that resembles a mole b :  a related animal (Galemys pyrenaicus) of the Pyrenees

  2. 2 :  the fur or pelt of a desman

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of 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

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up desman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trip made at another's expense

Get Word of the Day daily email!