Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various small, mouselike rodents of the genus Gerbillus and other genera of the subfamily Gerbillinae, having long hind legs and a long tail and inhabiting arid regions of Africa and Asia.
  • noun A Mongolian jird (Meriones unguiculatus) of the subfamily Gerbillinae, commonly domesticated and kept as a pet.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A book-name of any animal of the subfamily Gerbillinœ.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) One of several species of small, jumping, murine burrowing rodents, of the genus Gerbillus and related genera of the subfamily Gerbillinae. They have long soft pale fur and hind legs adapted for leaping. In their leaping powers they resemble the jerboa. They inhabit Africa, India, and Southern Europe.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A rodent (Meriones unguiculatus) of the subfamily Gerbillinae that is commonly kept as a pet; it is also called the tamarisk gerbil, sand rat and jird. Its natural habitats are the dry regions of Northern Africa and Asia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun zoology One of several species of small, jumping, murine rodents, of the genus Gerbillus. In their leaping powers they resemble the jerboa. They inhabit Africa, India, and Southern Europe.
  • verb To rotate inside a monowheel or similar apparatus due to sudden acceleration or braking.
  • verb slang To insert a small animal into the rectum of a person.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun small Old World burrowing desert rodent with long soft pale fur and hind legs adapted for leaping

Etymologies

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

[French gerbille, from New Latin Gerbillus, genus name, from diminutive of gerbō, jerboa, variant of Medieval Latin jerbōa; see jerboa.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French gerbille, from Latin gerbo, from Arabic يربوع (yarbūʕ, "jerboa").

Examples

Comments

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  • A small furry animal kept as a pet.

    December 6, 2006

  • Only one of the best words ever. Ever.

    March 29, 2008

  • Far more satisfying than "small Old World burrowing desert rodent"; that's for sure.

    March 29, 2008

  • 'Gerbils replace rats' as main cause of Black Death

    The deadly (this truth is ironic)
    Are often subdued and laconic.
    I give you the gerbil -
    So shy and non-verbal -
    And newly revealed as bubonic.

    February 25, 2015