\ˈräd \

Definition of rod 

1a(1) : a straight slender stick growing on or cut from a tree or bush

(2) : osier

(3) : a stick or bundle of twigs used to punish also : punishment

(4) : a shepherd's cudgel

(5) : a pole with a line and usually a reel attached for fishing

b(1) : a slender bar (as of wood or metal)

(2) : a bar or staff for measuring

(3) : scepter also : a wand or staff carried as a badge of office (as of marshal)

2a : a unit of length — see Weights and Measures Table

b : a square rod

3 : any of the long rod-shaped photosensitive receptors in the retina responsive to faint light — compare cone sense 3a

4 : a rod-shaped bacterium

5 slang : handgun

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Other Words from rod

rodless \ˈräd-ləs \ adjective
rodlike \ˈräd-ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of rod in a Sentence

arrested for using a rod on his dogs in violation of the state's animal cruelty laws

Recent Examples on the Web

Mr Stoltenberg, a Norwegian whose job is to act as a kind of lightning-rod for storms raging inside NATO, tried hard to accentuate the positive. The Economist, "The American president lambasts his allies," 12 July 2018 They were submitted for consideration before the show was axed and no one — including its lightning-rod star — asked to be withdrawn. Fox News, "Did Barr's racist tweet kill 'Roseanne's' Emmy chances?," 10 July 2018 The city eventually replaced the pools’ chain-link fences with ones made from metal rods. Matthew Ormseth,, "Teen Drowns In Hartford's Keney Park Pool After Camera That Officials Knew Was Broken Fails To Alert Police," 4 July 2018 During the procedure, surgeons use a metal rod called a cannula to suction fat through a surgical incision, plunging the instrument in and out of the patient’s body. Sarah Blaskey, Sonia Osorio And Daniel Chang, miamiherald, "She dreamed of getting plastic surgery in Miami. Three days later, she was dead.," 13 June 2018 Anglers must purchase the state's two-rod endorsement. Bill Monroe,, "Two-rod rule announced for Tillamook, Nestucca, Willamette systems," 18 Apr. 2018 If there's no hit on the drop, the tactic is to shake or jiggle the lure, basically just lightly twitching the rod tip, which causes the lure to wiggle and squirm but may move it only a few inches at a time. Joe Songer,, "Over 85 amazing wildlife photos captured on trail/game cameras by our readers," 8 Feb. 2018 With no good way to measure it, Delgado pulled the fish close to the boat and rested his 7-foot, 4-inch bass rod alongside it for reference. Tyler Mahoney Special To The Star, kansascity, "Lake Jacomo fisherman happens across a monster while fishing for bass," 13 June 2018 The autophage engine consumes a propellant rod that has solid fuel on the outside and oxidizer on the inside, according to PhysOrg. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceShipTwo soars, BFR engine advances, a self-eating booster," 1 June 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for rod

Middle English, from Old English rodd; akin to Old Norse rudda club

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Phrases Related to rod

rule with a rod of iron

Statistics for rod

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rod

The first known use of rod was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for rod



English Language Learners Definition of rod

: a straight, thin stick or bar

: a pole with a line and usually a reel that is used in fishing

: a stick used to hit or whip someone as a form of punishment


\ˈräd \

Kids Definition of rod

1 : a light flexible pole often with line and a reel attached used in fishing

2 : a stick or bundle of twigs used in whipping a person

3 : a straight slender stick or bar

4 : a measure of length equal to 16¹/₂ feet (about 5 meters)

5 : a cell of the retina of the eye that is shaped like a rod and is sensitive to faint light


\ˈräd \

Medical Definition of rod 

1 : a straight slender pole or bar

2 : any of the long rod-shaped photosensitive receptors in the retina responsive to faint light — compare cone sense 2a

3 : a bacterium shaped like a rod

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Comments on rod

What made you want to look up rod? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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