ruminant

noun
ru·​mi·​nant | \ ˈrü-mə-nənt How to pronounce ruminant (audio) \

Definition of ruminant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an animal that chews the cud specifically : an herbivorous, even-toed, hoofed mammal (suborder Ruminantia and Tylopoda) that has a complex 3- or 4-chambered stomach Proving that being a ruminant is no bar to being a sophisticate, cows listening to Beethoven and Haydn upped their milk production by 5.5 percent. — Jeffrey Kluger Insoluble fiber comes from the structural components of plant cell walls … . It is made up of complex carbohydrates, but has no caloric value for humans; unlike ruminants … , we are unable to digest it. — S. Boyd Eaton

Note: Ruminants include cattle, sheep, deer, goats, giraffes, camels, and llamas, although camels, llamas, and other camelids are sometimes not considered true ruminants because they possess a 3-chambered rather than a 4-chambered stomach.

ruminant

adjective

Definition of ruminant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : chewing the cud ruminant animals : of, relating to, or characteristic of a mammal that is a ruminant ruminant digestion
2 : given to or engaged in contemplation : meditative stood there … in this attitude of ruminant relish— Thomas Wolfe

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Other Words from ruminant

Adjective

ruminantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for ruminant

Synonyms: Adjective

broody, cogitative, contemplative, meditative, melancholy, musing, pensive, reflective, ruminative, thoughtful

Antonyms: Adjective

unreflective

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Examples of ruminant in a Sentence

Adjective

I wandered around campus all day in a ruminant mood.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some locals have doubts about bringing back the giant ruminants. The Economist, "An ancient beast returns to Transylvania," 22 Aug. 2019 Although this is not a particularly flattering metaphor, Nussbaum is like a ruminant, chewing and digesting her subject, when others are satisfied with gumming and gulping. Peter Biskind, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Author Emily Nussbaum sees the big picture on the small screen," 29 Aug. 2019 Methane in Earth’s atmosphere comes from a variety of biological and geological sources — everything from decaying plants in wetlands and the digestive tracts of cattle and other ruminants to coal mining and oil drilling. Tom Metcalfe, NBC News, "'Massive pool' of methane discovered hidden deep underground," 27 Aug. 2019 Cows and other ruminants such as goats and sheep have a special stomach called a rumen that houses millions of microbes. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Gut bacteria could be key to producing tastier cow’s milk," 3 July 2019 To look for the genes that let Santa’s helpers survive scarce food and months without daylight, researchers took advantage of a massive effort to sequence the genomes of reindeer and 43 other ruminants, including cows, sheep, and camels. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "How reindeer evolved to survive freezing Arctic winters," 20 June 2019 One animal was found dead at the Rocking Horse Ranch Day Care’s corral — a quarter-acre spread for the original 10 ruminants — when a ranch hand found two strange dogs on a front porch at the property about 6:30 a.m. July 17. Michael Todd, The Mercury News, "Five alpacas dead after mauling by two pit bulls in Santa Cruz County," 23 July 2019 In the days of still-expensive sequencing, more exotic ruminants weren’t exactly a high priority. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Wildebeest! Okapi! Giraffe! Ibex! Come Peruse Their Genomes," 20 June 2019 The study started when scientists in China and their colleagues abroad sequenced the genomes of 44 ruminants, including cows, deer, giraffes, pronghorn sheep, and other mammals that have complex stomachs for digesting plants. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Cancer genes help deer antlers grow," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Since 1961, methane emissions from ruminant livestock, which include cows as well as sheep, buffalo, and goats, have significantly increased, according to the report. Christopher Flavelle, BostonGlobe.com, "Climate change threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns," 8 Aug. 2019 Since 1961 methane emissions from ruminant livestock, which include cows as well as sheep, buffalo and goats, have significantly increased, according to the report. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, "Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns," 8 Aug. 2019 Thus began Yang’s ten-year diversion into the world of ruminant biology. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Wildebeest! Okapi! Giraffe! Ibex! Come Peruse Their Genomes," 20 June 2019 The global demand for ruminant meat, meaning beef, sheep and goat, is expected to be even higher, at 88%. Jen Christensen, CNN, "To help save the planet, cut back to a hamburger and a half per week," 17 July 2019 Some trans fats occur naturally in dairy foods and meat from ruminant animals. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Health officials launch ambitious plan to rid the world of trans fats," 15 May 2018 Consider the numbers: India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminant animals like sheep, goats, yaks and buffalo. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "India’s Answer to Global Warming: Cows That Belch Less," 3 May 2016

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

Noun

1661, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for ruminant

Last Updated

27 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ruminant

The first known use of ruminant was in 1610

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More Definitions for ruminant

ruminant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ruminant

technical : an animal (such as a cow or sheep) that has more than one stomach and that swallows food and then brings it back up again to continue chewing it

ruminant

noun
ru·​mi·​nant | \ ˈrü-mə-nənt How to pronounce ruminant (audio) \

Kids Definition of ruminant

: a hoofed animal (as a cow or sheep) that chews its cud and has a stomach with usually four chambers

Other Words from ruminant

ruminant adjective ruminant animals

ruminant

noun
ru·​mi·​nant | \ ˈrü-mə-nənt How to pronounce ruminant (audio) \

Medical Definition of ruminant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a ruminant mammal

ruminant

adjective

Medical Definition of ruminant (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to two suborders (Ruminantia and Tylopoda) of even-toed hoofed mammals (as sheep, oxen, deer, and camels) that chew the cud and have a complex 3- or 4-chambered stomach

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruminant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruminant

Spanish Central: Translation of ruminant

Nglish: Translation of ruminant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ruminant

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