ruminant

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

adjective

1
a
: chewing the cud : being a mammal that is a ruminant
ruminant animals
b
: 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 relishThomas Wolfe
ruminantly adverb

Example Sentences

Adjective I wandered around campus all day in a ruminant mood.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Buying carbon offsets for flights is nice in theory—but what would really put a dent in climate change is controlling the amount of methane released by ruminant livestock. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 July 2022 Cows and other ruminant animals excrete some urea into their saliva. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 11 Oct. 2012 But methane from fossil fuels doesn’t have all the same characteristics as methane produced by ruminant animals like cattle. Isabella Fertel, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2022 The products from ruminant animals – sheep, cows and other animals with four stomachs – tend to have greater greenhouse gas emissions. Quora, Forbes, 15 June 2022 Waters is this person, intriguing, ruminant and honest, hilarious but forthright. Daniel Scheffler, SPIN, 4 May 2022 Keep in mind that trans fats naturally occur in dairy products and other products from ruminant animals (cows, sheep), though generally at levels lower than the 0.5 grams per serving, according to the FDA. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 Historically, the source of rennet was from the stomachs of ruminant mammals, such as cows. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2022 Seamus Heaney once characterized the Irish novelist John McGahern as a ruminant, given to chewing the cud. Clair Wills, The New York Review of Books, 4 Nov. 2021
Adjective
The country’s nearly 120 million ruminant animals, increasingly being fed a diet of grains laced with hormones and antibiotics, were concentrated into industrialized feeding operations. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Apr. 2020 First, there is biological methane, which comes from agriculture - particularly the belches of ruminant animals, such as cows, and from rice fields - but also from wetlands, landfills, termites and more. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Feb. 2020 Beef and other ruminant meats like lamb produce much higher greenhouse gas emissions than other proteins like beans and nuts, and these emissions are major contributors to climate change. Jenny Splitter / Photography Kelsey Mcclellan, Popular Mechanics, 20 Dec. 2019 The results of the chemical analysis show that the bottles contained dairy fat from the milk of ruminant animals, a group that includes cows, goats, and sheep. Megan Gannon, National Geographic, 25 Sep. 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, BostonGlobe.com, 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, 8 Aug. 2019 Thus began Yang’s ten-year diversion into the world of ruminant biology. Megan Molteni, WIRED, 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, 17 July 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1661, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ruminant was in 1610

Dictionary Entries Near ruminant

Cite this Entry

“Ruminant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruminant. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

ruminant

1 of 2 noun
ru·​mi·​nant ˈrü-mə-nənt How to pronounce ruminant (audio)
: a cud-chewing mammal

ruminant

2 of 2 adjective
1
a
: chewing the cud
b
: of or relating to a group of hoofed mammals (as sheep, oxen, deer, and camels) that chew the cud and have a complex 3- or 4-chambered stomach
2
: given to or engaged in contemplation : meditative

Medical Definition

ruminant

1 of 2 noun
ru·​mi·​nant ˈrü-mə-nənt How to pronounce ruminant (audio)
: a ruminant mammal

ruminant

2 of 2 adjective
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruminant

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