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 Morganucodon had a small gerbil-like body and a long face similar to those of shrews or civets. Lianne Kolirin, CNN, 6 Sep. 2022 Officers said the gerbil is now with Cincinnati Animal CARE. Courtney King, The Enquirer, 1 Sep. 2022 Or use it as a water dish for a pet bird or gerbil. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 They can be used to gain new skills and knowledge; create, connect, and communicate; find answers to almost any question; keep up with the news; and buy gerbil food at 2:00 in the morning. Quora, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 The gerbil isn’t wild, at least when kept in a container in the United States. Jeff Mcmahon, Forbes, 22 Sep. 2021 At the center of my experiment was one Hubert Lee, a gerbil named in part after my sister’s boyfriend at the time. Debra Hale-shelton, Arkansas Online, 25 Oct. 2020 On Twitter, Young credited the gerbil museum created by curator Filippo Lorenzin and artist Marianna Benetti for sparking her creativity. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Apr. 2020 The gerbil gallery is, of course, a bit too petite to accommodate in-person human visitors. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near gerbil

Gerber convention



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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gerbil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for gerbil


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 gerbil (audio) \

Medical Definition of gerbil

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

More from Merriam-Webster on gerbil

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


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