ger·​bil | \ˈjər-bəl \
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

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 The next year, the paperback showed a girl running in the grass with zero gerbils. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "My Beloved Octopus: Animal Memoirs Move Way Beyond Cats and Dogs," 23 Apr. 2018 Ferrets, fish, gerbils, frogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs, rabbits, rats, unspecified reptiles. Karin Brulliard,, "Animal house? More colleges are saying yes to dogs and cats in dorms.," 14 Apr. 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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Gerber convention





Statistics for gerbil

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of gerbil

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


variants: also gerbille \ˈjər-​bəl \

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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gerbil

Spanish Central: Translation of gerbil

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

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to enclose within walls

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