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.



Definition of ruminant (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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 relish— Thomas Wolfe

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Other Words from ruminant


ruminantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for ruminant

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Cows’ ruminant digestive system ferments grass and other feed in multiple stomach compartments, burping methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Mike Dorning, Fortune, 16 May 2021 Beef and dairy production are considered important drivers of climate change, contributing roughly 5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in the form of methane released by cattle and other ruminant animals. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Mar. 2021 Anuli had been under treatment since October for episodes of abdominal distension, specifically of her rumen, the first stomach of a ruminant which is where microbial fermentation takes place. Mckenna Oxenden,, 5 Mar. 2021 Holistic grazing is a ranching method that groups animals closely together, moving them continuously from place to place to imitate the way ruminant animals in Africa graze on the open plains. Robert Paarlberg, Wired, 22 Jan. 2021 On the move Ralco, Marshall, Minn., named Jennifer Young as ruminant account manager. Staff Reports Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 9 Aug. 2020 Collins and Forrest believe that with proper management, grazing ruminant animals can help reverse the effects of climate change, a particularly urgent matter. Dallas News, 5 Oct. 2020 Lamb – Another ruminant, lamb, comes at number two -- confirming that red meat is particularly resource-intensive and, as such, damaging to the environment. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, 21 Sep. 2020 Take bluetongue virus, a highly lethal ruminant disease that is spread by biting midges called Culicoides. Lois Parshley, Scientific American, 1 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: 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,, 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

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


1661, in the meaning defined above


1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of ruminant was in 1610

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Cite this Entry

“Ruminant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ruminant

: 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


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


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

Medical Definition of ruminant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a ruminant mammal



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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruminant

Nglish: Translation of ruminant for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about ruminant


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