ro·​dent | \ˈrō-dᵊnt \

Definition of rodent 

1 : any of an order (Rodentia) of relatively small gnawing mammals (such as a mouse, squirrel, or beaver) that have in both jaws a single pair of incisors with a chisel-shaped edge

2 : a small mammal (such as a rabbit or a shrew) other than a true rodent

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Other Words from rodent

rodent adjective

Examples of rodent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Triatomines are nocturnal and tend to live in cracks and holes in rocks and buildings; underneath porches, concrete, rock, wood, brush piles, and tree bark; or in rodent nests or animal burrows. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Disease Spread by Kissing Bug Could Become More Common in the U.S.," 21 Aug. 2018 Use 1/4-inch hardware cloth for enclosures instead of chicken wire, which raccoons can easily pull apart and small rodents can squeeze through. Denise Foley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Raising Backyard Chickens," 14 Aug. 2018 But, by allowing researchers to examine behaviors commonly associated with mania, rodent studies offer an opportunity to look at complicated elements of psychiatric illness in a more controlled environment, Tamashiro explains. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "So, About That Study That Linked Processed Meats to Mania...," 7 Aug. 2018 Unfortunately, lilies are delectable treats to many rodents including squirrels and chipmunks. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Lily Flowers," 1 Aug. 2018 Sandwich King was closed for nearly a month for a rodent and insect infestation, as well as unsanitary conditions. Todd Stewart,, "Lexington Market: Health Department closures since 2012," 13 July 2018 These rodents taunted us for as long as their arsenal of acorns lasted, which meant forever. Sally Higginson,, "Column: A pair of squirrelly backyard pets," 12 July 2018 Even House Speaker Paul Ryan isn't immune from rodents chomping on his vehicle's engine wiring. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Reports: Woodchucks feast on House Speaker Paul Ryan's SUV wiring," 12 July 2018 Wavecrest Open Space Preserve In winter, this area on the southern edge of Half Moon Bay is a premier spot for watching raptors on the prowl for rodents like the California vole. Jill K. Robinson,, "5 places to spot birds in Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018

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

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rodent

borrowed from the base of New Latin Rodentia, order name, from neuter plural of Latin rōdent-, rōdens, present participle of rōdere "to gnaw, nibble, eat away," perhaps going back to Indo-European *Hr̥h3d-, *Hreh3d-, whence also Hittite ardu- "saw (off)," Sanskrit rádati "(s/he) bites, gnaws, cuts, opens"

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Dictionary Entries near rodent



rode goose




rodent ulcer

Statistics for rodent

Last Updated

18 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rodent

The first known use of rodent was in 1830

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More Definitions for rodent



English Language Learners Definition of rodent

: a small animal (such as a mouse, rat, squirrel, or beaver) that has sharp front teeth


ro·​dent | \ˈrō-dᵊnt \

Kids Definition of rodent

: a usually small mammal (as a squirrel, rat, mouse, or beaver) with sharp front teeth used in gnawing


ro·​dent | \ˈrōd-ᵊnt \

Medical Definition of rodent 

: any mammal (as a mouse or rat) of the order Rodentia

Other Words from rodent

rodent adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on rodent

Spanish Central: Translation of rodent

Nglish: Translation of rodent for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on rodent

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


a knickknack or trinket

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