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 The muskrat was freed and relocated to a nearby park. Star Tribune, "Twin Cities metro police blotter, April 18," 17 Apr. 2021 Thom as was named for the muskrat, wazhashk, the lowly, hardworking, water-loving rodent. New York Times, "‘The Night Watchman,’ by Louise Erdrich: An Excerpt," 3 Mar. 2020 In death, mussels still play a role in the ecosystem, feeding muskrats, raccoons, and other riverside vertebrates. Marion Renault, Wired, "Freshwater Mussels Are Dying—Which Is the Likeliest Culprit?," 18 Apr. 2020 In the ’50s, nutria surpassed muskrat both in number of animals trapped and pelt value. Gerry Bethge, Outdoor Life, "Hunting Nutria in the Louisiana Bayou," 21 Apr. 2020 Frank Thompson, or Granddad, was an imposing oak of a man with eyebrows the size of muskrats. Nicholas Thompson, Wired, "To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past," 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,, "Now seen in the suburbs: the elusive bobcat," 29 Jan. 2020 In addition to the muskrat, the meal also consisted of mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, coleslaw, relish and bread. Vanessa Ray, Detroit Free Press, "Monroe club has been eating muskrat together for more than 100 years," 8 Jan. 2020 In summer and fall of 1925, Cordova trappers also live-captured 100 muskrats for passage to Kodiak. Anchorage Daily News, "Raccoons, wild pigs and other bad ideas for Alaska," 28 Sep. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for muskrat

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Muskrat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for muskrat



English Language Learners Definition of muskrat

: a North American animal that lives in or near water


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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for muskrat

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

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