pack rat


Definition of pack rat

1 : wood rat especially : a bushy-tailed rodent (Neotoma cinerea) of western North America that has well-developed cheek pouches and that hoards food and miscellaneous objects
2 : a person who collects or hoards especially unneeded items

Examples of pack rat in a Sentence

I'm a terrible pack rat. I never throw anything away.
Recent Examples on the Web Joshua trees were once dispersed across landscapes with help from ancient pack rats and elephant-size giant ground sloths, a finding based on the abundance of seeds found in fossilized dung. Los Angeles Times, "Scientists say Joshua trees may warrant listing as a threatened species," 13 Apr. 2020 Wolfram, a digital pack rat, has also recorded many of the brainstorming meetings between himself and his collaborators and is releasing 430 hours or so of videos. Steven Levy, Wired, "Stephen Wolfram Invites You to Solve Physics," 14 Apr. 2020 The pack rat might fill a storage space or overwhelm an attic. Jessica Ravitz And Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "The potential mind-altering, life-extending benefits of spring cleaning," 2 Mar. 2020 Those of us who have been labeled pack rats are really more on the bunny side in the kingdom of analogies. Lynn Petrak,, "Petrak: ‘Pack bunnies’ hold on to important family memories," 2 Oct. 2019 Anthony Bourdain was not a pack rat or a collector. Tim Carman, Washington Post, "Want an Anthony Bourdain keepsake? Now’s your chance with an auction of his possessions.," 9 Oct. 2019 The neatniks may not understand it, but those of us who are pack rats, er, pack bunnies, help keep family legacies alive. Lynn Petrak,, "Petrak: ‘Pack bunnies’ hold on to important family memories," 2 Oct. 2019 Perot the pack rat Perot collected everything from whimsical toys to priceless artifacts. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Ross Perot, self-made billionaire, patriot and philanthropist, dies at 89," 9 July 2019 This one reclassifies: One person’s pack rat is another’s collector. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Saving Brinton,’ an Inveterate Accumulator Finds Treasure," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pack rat.' 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 pack rat

1885, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of pack rat was in 1885

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Cite this Entry

“Pack rat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2020.

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pack rat


English Language Learners Definition of pack rat

US, informal : a person who collects or keeps things that are not needed

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pack rat

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