\ ˈräd How to pronounce rod (audio) \

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 How to pronounce rod (audio) \ adjective
rodlike \ ˈräd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce rod (audio) \ 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 She was allegedly raped and assaulted with an iron rod, according to CNN affiliate News-18, who cited a local official. Manveena Suri, Vedika Sud And Rhea Mogul, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 But the rod addiction storyline was really, really fun because Lucifer and I get into it. Marisa Roffman, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 Under Betsy DeVos, the lightning-rod secretary of education, Republicans rediscovered their love for private school vouchers and religious education. Jennifer C. Berkshire, The New Republic, 10 Sep. 2021 Everyone seems to be a little bit tired of talking so much about sulfur, which has somehow become a lightning-rod topic and yet is not the most important part of the winemaking process, by a longshot. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Aug. 2021 In the course of its own investigation, the Missouri Board of Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors discovered that the faulty hanger rod connection was indeed a topic of concern during the construction phase. Andrew Zaleski, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 News of a charity fund for the lightning-rod couple elicited strong reactions. Tim Prudente,, 6 Aug. 2021 Another way to expand your closet space without undergoing a pricey renovation, Hayden says, is to add a rod extender. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Aluminum rescue struts capable of holding ten of thousands of pounds per rod are used to prevent further collapse. Brian Mcgill, WSJ, 26 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for rod

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near rod



rod adaptation

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Statistics for rod

Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce rod (audio) \

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 How to pronounce rod (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rod

Nglish: Translation of rod for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rod for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about rod


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