rabbit

noun, often attributive
rab·​bit | \ ˈra-bət \
plural rabbit or rabbits

Definition of rabbit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a family (Leporidae) of long-eared short-tailed lagomorph mammals with long hind legs:
a : any of various lagomorphs that are born furless, blind, and helpless, that are sometimes gregarious, and that include especially the cottontails of the New World and a small Old World mammal (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that is the source of various domestic breeds
b : hare
2 : the pelt of a rabbit
4a : a figure of a rabbit sped mechanically along the edge of a dog track as an object of pursuit
b : a runner in a long-distance race who sets a fast pace for the field in the first part of the race

rabbit

verb
rabbited; rabbiting; rabbits

Definition of rabbit (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from rabbit

Noun

rabbity \ ˈra-​bə-​tē \ adjective

Verb

rabbiter noun

Examples of rabbit in a Sentence

Noun

We keep rabbits as pets.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The classic children’s novel by Richard Adams, about a band of rabbits trying to establish a safe home in the English countryside, is a little too subtle and complex for (young) children. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Netflix’s Watership Down Is Not (Really) for Kids—And That’s a Good Thing," 22 Dec. 2018 The Pence family was also trolled after the Vice-President's daughter wrote a children's book from the perspective of the family rabbit. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Mike Pence will be met with dancing drag queens in Columbus," 13 June 2018 Several of the rabbits were already awake and feeding on the edge of the wood. Peter Rock, New York Times, "On the Unsettling Allure of ‘Watership Down’," 15 May 2018 But even before the first visitor strolls past the historic plantings and the iconic family of wooden rabbits that watch over County Line Road at the edge of the garden, supporters are worried their new gem will be taken away. Kathy Boccella, Philly.com, "Lower Merion's new public garden already threatened by middle school plan," 10 May 2018 Some tests involve rats inhaling substances, whereas others call for placing chemicals into the eyes of rabbits. Vanessa Zainzinger, Science | AAAS, "Animal tests surge under new U.S. chemical safety law," 8 May 2018 Since January, Maryjo Fernandez, a senior from Dekaney High School, has been waking up early to take care of the five rabbits. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Spring ISD’s livestock show and fair raises scholarship funds," 2 May 2018 The edges of the fabric showed some leakage, however, revealing a line image of the rabbit. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Porous silk fiber traps heat, hides a rabbit from IR camera," 4 Apr. 2018 With thick brushstrokes, Ms. Harricks summons the sere land and low trees of the Australian bush, the unseen moon turning the ground almost white as the dingo hunts for a rabbit to feed her pups. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: There Was Never Anything Quite Like 1919," 11 Jan. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1846, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rabbit

Noun

Middle English rabet, probably from Middle French dialect (Walloon) robett, from obsolete or dialect Dutch robbe, robbeken; probably akin to Middle Low German robbe seal, East Frisian rubben to scratch, rub — more at rub

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Statistics for rabbit

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rabbit

The first known use of rabbit was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rabbit

rabbit

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rabbit

: a small animal that usually lives in holes in the ground and has long ears, soft fur, and back legs that are longer than its front legs
: the fur or meat of a rabbit

rabbit

noun
rab·​bit | \ ˈra-bət \

Kids Definition of rabbit

: a short-tailed mammal that has soft fur and long ears and hind legs and digs burrows

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More from Merriam-Webster on rabbit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rabbit

Spanish Central: Translation of rabbit

Nglish: Translation of rabbit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rabbit for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rabbit

Comments on rabbit

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