Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various small North American rodents of the genus Neotoma that collect in or around their nests a great variety of small objects. Also called trade rat, wood rat.
  • n. Western U.S. A petty thief.
  • n. Informal A collector or accumulator of miscellaneous objects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several small North American rodents, of the genus Neotoma, that have bushy tails
  • n. A scavenger

Etymologies

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  • Not just a figure of speech. . .if pack rats live near you, you might want to check their nests for your lost thimble, or forgeegaws.

    By the way, they are New World rats, unlike the Norway rat.

    June 30, 2007