\ 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 rodless (audio) \ adjective
rodlike \ ˈräd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce rodlike (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 Topo Gigio was a sort of cross between a puppet and a marionette; three puppeteers, hidden in a black background, moved various body parts with rods. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Maria Perego, Topo Gigio’s Creator, Dies at 95," 8 Nov. 2019 Children welded their own bicycles with metal rods. Kevin Sieff, Anchorage Daily News, "How Mexico’s cartel wars shattered American Mormons’ peaceful, but wary, existence," 7 Nov. 2019 Large metal rods frame double-sided mirrors and plain air, at times splicing differently colored tree trunks and playing tricks with the mind. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian, "Alicja Kwade’s Installation at the Hirshhorn Invites Viewers to Question the World as We Know It," 1 Nov. 2019 The troops wearing helmets and tactical vests and carrying riot shields and long metal rods broke up the caravan Saturday afternoon, according to video posted on Facebook by human rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras. Daniel Gonzalez, azcentral, "Mexico blocks caravan, 2 African migrants drown as immigration crackdown intensifies," 18 Oct. 2019 Several pairs of shoes remain tucked away in the bottom drawer with an array of shirts hung on a metal rod. Dan Wiederer,, "The end came quickly and abruptly for Kyle Long with the Bears. Now what? ‘I hate that this is how he has to go out.’," 17 Oct. 2019 Twenty-four-year-old Randy Santos was carrying a metal rod covered with blood and hair when he was arrested near the scene of the early Saturday attacks, prosecutors said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Officials release IDs of 3 of the Chinatown homeless victims," 7 Oct. 2019 Almost every year, Sammi has had new metal telescoping rods surgically implanted into her arms and legs, though her small limbs still bow and bend. René A. Guzman,, "San Antonio girl stars in new Netflix series, ‘Raising Dion’," 3 Oct. 2019 But the mutation causes hemoglobin to aggregate into rock-hard rods that give cells a sickle shape. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "A new sickle cell drug could soon get U.S. approval. But does it work?," 17 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for rod

Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for rod

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

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More Definitions for rod


How to pronounce rod (audio)

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
old-fashioned : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rod

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rod

Spanish Central: Translation of rod

Nglish: Translation of rod for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on rod

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