musk·​rat | \ ˈməsk-ˌrat How to pronounce muskrat (audio) \
plural muskrat or muskrats

Definition of muskrat

: an aquatic rodent (Ondatra zibethica) of the U.S. and Canada with a long scaly laterally compressed tail, webbed hind feet, and dark glossy brown fur also : its fur or pelt

Illustration of muskrat

Illustration of muskrat

Examples of muskrat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It’s used for farming, timbering, harvesting muskrat. Liza Weisstuch, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Mar. 2022 Anchor expected to find traces of raccoons and beavers, an occasional muskrat, and even a native mink. Paul Eisenberg,, 20 Feb. 2022 The muskrat was freed and relocated to a nearby park. Star Tribune, 17 Apr. 2021 Thom as was named for the muskrat, wazhashk, the lowly, hardworking, water-loving rodent. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 In death, mussels still play a role in the ecosystem, feeding muskrats, raccoons, and other riverside vertebrates. Marion Renault, Wired, 18 Apr. 2020 In the ’50s, nutria surpassed muskrat both in number of animals trapped and pelt value. Gerry Bethge, Outdoor Life, 21 Apr. 2020 Frank Thompson, or Granddad, was an imposing oak of a man with eyebrows the size of muskrats. Nicholas Thompson, Wired, 20 Apr. 2020 Bobcats feed on medium-sized animals like rabbits, but also eat mice, squirrels, skunks, opossums, muskrats, birds, and snakes, said MassWildlife. Don Lyman,, 29 Jan. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of muskrat

1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for muskrat

probably by folk etymology from a word of Algonquian origin; akin to Massachusett musquash muskrat

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Time Traveler for muskrat

Time Traveler

The first known use of muskrat was in 1607

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Dictionary Entries Near muskrat

musk plant


muskrat potato

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Cite this Entry

“Muskrat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for muskrat


musk·​rat | \ ˈməsk-ˌrat How to pronounce muskrat (audio) \
plural muskrat or muskrats

Kids Definition of muskrat

: a North American animal that is a rodent living in or near water and having webbed hind feet, a long scaly tail, and glossy usually dark brown fur

More from Merriam-Webster on muskrat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for muskrat

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


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