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 Tofu, a gerbil who lives in Bay Village with owner Anna Evans. cleveland, "Louie, the suitcase-stealing dog, wins’s Funniest Pet Video contest (see all 12 videos)," 8 May 2020 What the pandemic has wrought: a museum for gerbils. Los Angeles Times, "Essential Arts: LACMA gets the wrecking ball mid-pandemic," 11 Apr. 2020 Of course these cardio benefits are just for dogs -- not cats, horses, gerbils and the like. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Benefits (and some surprising science) about owning a pet," 20 Feb. 2020 What do two art lovers with two gerbil pets do with hours to spare while in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine in London? Hilary Shenfeld,, "Quarantined Couple Creates Gallery, Featuring 'Gerbil with a Pearl Earring,' For Their Gerbils," 21 Apr. 2020 Gove estimates the shelter started with about 40 animals and now, a few days later, it's left with six cats, four guinea pigs and two gerbils. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Homes for pets are in urgent need as coronavirus shuts down animal shelters," 18 Mar. 2020 New York Ithaca: An animal shelter in central New York is teeming with rats, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs after humane officers found more than 300 of the small mammals abandoned along roads. USA TODAY, "Feral pig invasion, giant Christmas pyramid, rampaging fox attacks humans: News from around our 50 states," 20 Nov. 2019 The university and federal investigators found a variety of issues with a lab that works with ferrets, mice, gerbils and marmosets, a type of monkey. oregonlive, "OHSU animal lab halts research after feds find infected ferret, other problems," 19 Nov. 2019 Or an entirely different version of a baseball, with a prune center, dental-floss winding and gerbil-hide cover? Scott Ostler,, "On Giants’ next manager, Warriors’ secret plot, and killer burgers," 9 Nov. 2019

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

1827, 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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Time Traveler for gerbil

Time Traveler

The first known use of gerbil was in 1827

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Cite this Entry

“Gerbil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for gerbil


How to pronounce gerbil (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of gerbil

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

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