ger·​bil | \ ˈjər-bəl How to pronounce gerbil (audio) \
variants: or less commonly gerbille

Definition of gerbil

: any of numerous Old World burrowing desert rodents (Gerbillus and related genera) with long hind legs adapted for leaping

Examples of gerbil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The backyard is full of the bones of our pets, mostly cats, but some gerbils, too, and even one guinea pig. Beth Thames |,, "Bloom where you are planted," 26 June 2019 And a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2014 found that supplements of apigenin, a flavonoid found in celery, may have helped slow the progression of gastritis and gastric cancer—in gerbils, that is. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Surprise: Celery Juice Will Not Cure All of Your Health Issues," 25 Jan. 2019 An unmanned Russian space biology mission called BION-M1 took various animals into space, including mice and gerbils, for a month. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why There Are Sperm Swimming Around at the Space Station," 16 July 2018 To try to answer that question, a team of German bioengineers surgically installed coiled strips of optical fibers in the ears of deaf gerbils. Justin Chen, STAT, "Pulses of light restored hearing in gerbils. Could that lead to higher-tech cochlear implants?," 11 July 2018 Turns out Betsy Ross is the biggest lie your kindergarten teacher ever told you (except that Bubbles the class gerbil was moving to a farm upstate). Josh Axelrod And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "It's Flag Day. Here are some fun facts about the American flag you may not have known," 14 June 2018 The shelter is accepting donations for food for the surviving animals, which include cockatiels, parakeets, lovebirds and Macaws; hamsters, gerbils, mice, degus and rabbits, the Voice reported. Marwa Eltagouri, ajc, "Sign said pet store was closed for maintenance, but inside were 41 dead animals," 30 May 2018 London’s parents limited her to gerbils and hamsters as pets because of her allergies. Amy Sutherland,, "An experimental cancer treatment cured this dog. Could it work for people?," 16 May 2018 McDonald owns three dogs and used to have a gerbil. Mark Wright, star-telegram, "Mind over matter could lead to successful state meet for DFW long jumper | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 10 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gerbil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gerbil

1849, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gerbil

French gerbille, from New Latin Gerbillus, diminutive of gerboa, jerboa jerboa

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Dictionary Entries near gerbil



Gerber convention





Statistics for gerbil

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gerbil

The first known use of gerbil was in 1849

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More Definitions for gerbil



English Language Learners Definition of gerbil

: a small animal that is often kept as a pet


ger·​bil | \ ˈjər-bəl How to pronounce gerbil (audio) \

Kids Definition of gerbil

: a small Old World leaping desert rodent that is often kept as a pet


variants: also gerbille \ ˈjər-​bəl How to pronounce gerbille (audio) \

Medical Definition of gerbil

: any of numerous Old World burrowing desert rodents (Gerbillus and related genera) with long hind legs adapted for leaping

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More from Merriam-Webster on gerbil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gerbil

Spanish Central: Translation of gerbil

Nglish: Translation of gerbil for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about gerbil

Comments on gerbil

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


to shake or wave menacingly

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