ham·​ster ˈham(p)-stər How to pronounce hamster (audio)
: any of a subfamily (Cricetinae) of small Old World rodents having very large cheek pouches

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The Carriage held but just the hamster— And Immortality. Sue D. Gelber, The New Yorker, 14 Feb. 2023 The series' fourth episode introduced another notable comic book character in the form of Jamie the hamster. Nick Romano, EW.com, 15 June 2022 Marshmallow the hamster plays in a cage before being dropped off at an animal management center Wednesday in the Sha Tin area of Hong Kong. NBC News, 19 Jan. 2022 Until then, no class hamster will be left in the dark. Kate Armanini, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Jan. 2023 There’s also a hamster who’s a bit of a Houdini and likes to escape his cage. Jason Gay, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2022 From brain games for your cat to hammocks for your fish to cheesy treats for your hamster, these National Pet Day gifts aim to make every pet feel loved and appreciated. Kala Herh, NBC News, 11 Apr. 2021 For example, the European hamster has boldly patterned fur and can be vicious. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2015 The medical staff stepped in and even treated her hamster, her first pet, doctors said. Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2014 See More

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

Word History


German, from Old High German hamustro, of Slavic origin; akin to Old Russian choměstorŭ hamster, of Iranian origin; akin to Avestan hamaēstar- oppressor

First Known Use

1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hamster was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near hamster

Cite this Entry

“Hamster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hamster. Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ham·​ster ˈham(p)-stər How to pronounce hamster (audio)
: any of various small Old World rodents with a short tail and large cheek pouches

Medical Definition


ham·​ster ˈham(p)-stər How to pronounce hamster (audio)
: any of numerous Old World rodents (Cricetus or a related genus) having very large cheek pouches and including several used as laboratory animals

More from Merriam-Webster on hamster

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?