rod

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Appleby-Frodingham, Redbourn, and Normanby Park—that together built a century of British railways, steel rods, warships, and bridges. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Death of British Steel and the Myth of the Good Brexit," 10 July 2019 Watch classic cars, muscle cars, hot-rods, kit-cars and more cruise down Main Street. Ramona Sentinel, "Our Town Calendar of Events: July 12-17," 10 July 2019 In seconds-that-seemed-like-hours, the scene unfolded: Orr hanging on to the rod, Cooney reeling and Von Essen poised with the net. oregonlive.com, "Monroe: Ocean fishing has vastly improved this summer," 6 July 2019 This particular one, anchored in rods, reels and smiles, offers something special and more. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego fishing provides welcome therapy for military veterans," 28 June 2019 Just the suggestion that Beijing could starve American factories of essential materials has sent rare-earth prices soaring over the past month, with dysprosium oxide, used in lasers and nuclear-reactor control rods, up by one-third. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, "China hints it will choke off U.S. ‘rare earths’ access. But it’s not that easy.," 11 June 2019 Carla suffered from cone-rod dystrophy, a condition that causes a person's vision to deteriorate over time. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "When a solo traveler went missing in Peru, it changed her family's lives completely," 9 June 2019 Instead, the scientists must penetrate a croc’s leathery hide using a needle attached to a 12-foot long aluminum rod, which is known as a biopsy pole. Matthew Abbott, New York Times, "The Revered Crocodiles of This Island Nation Have Suddenly Started Killing People," 6 June 2019 Just like drapes, curtains hang from a rod, which is installed above the window frame and can be either hidden or decorative. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Drapes or Curtains? Why Choosing the Right Window Treatment Matters," 27 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rod

Statistics for rod

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rod

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rod

rod

noun

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

rod

noun
\ 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

rod

noun
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rod

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rod

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rod

Spanish Central: Translation of rod

Nglish: Translation of rod for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rod for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rod

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!