American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A large aquatic rodent (Ondatra zibethica) of North America, related to the lemming and the vole and having a dense brown coat and musk glands under a broad flat tail. Also called musquash, water rat.
- n. The fur of this rodent.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A large murine rodent quadruped, Fiber zibethicus, of the family Muridœ and subfamily Arvicolinœ: so called from its musky odor. It is of about the size of a small rabbit, of a very stout thick-set form and dark-brown color, grayish underneath, with small eyes and ears, large hind feet with webbed toes, and long naked scaly tail, compressed in the horizontal plane so as to present an upper and an under edge, and two broad sides. In the character of the fur, the scaly tail, and aquatic habits, the muskrat resembles the beaver, and is sometimes called
muskbeaver; but its actual relationships are with the voles and lemmings. It is one of the commonest quadrupeds of North America, almost universally distributed throughout that continent, living in lakes, rivers, and pools, either in underground burrows in the banks, or in houses made of reeds, rushes, and grasses, as large as haycocks and of similar shape. The fur is of commercial value, and the animal is much hunted. Also called musquashand ondatra.
- n. An insectivorous animal of musky odor likened to a rat, such as the European desman, Mygale pyrenaica, and the Indian musk-shrew or rat-tailed shrew, Sorex indicus or Crocidura myosura, also called Indian muskrat and monjourou.
- n. A viverrine quadruped, the South African genet, Genetta felina.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A North American aquatic fur-bearing rodent (Ondatra zibethica formerly Fiber zibethicus). It resembles a rat in color and having a long scaly tail, but the tail is compressed, the hind feet are webbed, and the ears are concealed in the fur. It has scent glands which secrete a substance having a strong odor of musk. Called also
musquash, musk beaver, ondatra, and sometimes water rat.
- n. (Zoöl.) The musk shrew.
- n. (Zoöl.) The desman.
- n. the brown fur of a muskrat
- n. beaver-like aquatic rodent of North America with dark glossy brown fur
- Perhaps so called for its musky odour and because it resembles a rat, or perhaps called by an Algonquian name like the Abenaki moskwas, with the spelling altered under the influence of the English words musk and rat. (Wiktionary)
“This miller had shot an animal they call a muskrat, the skin of which we saw hanging up to dry.”
“Not a raccoon nor a muskrat is the wayfarer likely to meet with here to-night; but the gray rat of civilization is to be dimly discerned, as he lopes along the gutters in his nightly prowl.”
“Our muskrat is a trapped and drowned one so we will not have to replace the shot hole plugs with fresh ones, as would be best if it had been killed with the gun.”
“The muskrat is a skilled engineer, and delights in tunnelling.”
“The muskrat was a very good swimmer, indeed, and as soon as she reached the water she plunged in and swam about, to show Sammie and Susie how it ought to be done.”
“In the Baltimore markets four kinds of terrapin are sold -- not counting muskrat, which is sometimes disguised with sauce and sherry and served as a substitute.”
“I am more than half persuaded that the muskrat is a wise little animal, and that on the subject of the weather, especially, he possesses some secret that I should be glad to know.”
“He is called muskrat, from his resemblance to the common rat, combined with the musky odour which he emits from glands situated near the anus.”
“Part of the year the muskrat is a social animal; at other seasons it is solitary.”
“The "muskrat" of the States is the musquash of the fur-traders (_Fiber sibethicus_).”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘muskrat’.
All the scientific words found in the official EU nomenclature. For the screening I used Vocabgrabber of the Visual Thesaurus.
includes words of the "Prodcom list"
Mostly... rodentia... of course. Thinking of them in this way adds a comforting layer of abstraction.
Words derived from the innumerable languages of native Americans and the First Nations of Canada. I want to shine some light on this underexposed etymological background to so many common (and som...
Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
Just kidding. Kind of.
Words for things both tangible and nonanthropic
just the next words that come along
American words with deep native roots...
Looking for tweets for muskrat.