Definition of rabbit in English:


Syllabification: rab·bit
Pronunciation: /ˈrabət


1A burrowing, gregarious, plant-eating mammal with long ears, long hind legs, and a short tail.
  • Family Leporidae: several genera and species, in particular the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), which is often kept as a pet or raised for food
More example sentences
  • The chances of survival for South Africa's most endangered mammal, the riverine rabbit, looks even more desperate than has commonly been feared.
  • Appearances were put in by eastern chipmunks, gray squirrels, a rabbit and our new resident woodchuck.
  • Two new extinct species are named (a rabbit and squirrel) and two of the mustelids may represent extinct new species as well.
buck, doe; cony
informal bunny
1.1The flesh of the rabbit as food.
More example sentences
  • From every kitchen in the village arose the most delicious aromas: apple pies, rabbit and chicken pies, fairy cakes, pancakes.
  • Wild rabbit has a much darker flesh than farmed rabbit, but both are extremely versatile and, because of the price, you can afford to experiment.
  • My recipe for today is an old Australian country recipe for rabbit pie.
1.2The fur of the rabbit.
More example sentences
  • Typical usage is a simple trim on a hood or wrap scarf and the fur might just as easily be rabbit as mink.
  • There were platform shoes, rabbit coats, sausage curls and blue eye shadow - and the women weren't a pretty sight either.
1.3North American another term for hare.
1.4US A runner who acts as pacesetter in the first laps of a race.

verb (rabbits, rabbiting, rabbited)

[no object] Back to top  
1 (usually as noun rabbiting) Hunt rabbits: locate the area where you can go rabbiting
More example sentences
  • Hunting with dogs would ban a number of less well-known bloodsports, like hare coursing, mink hunting, rabbiting with terriers.
  • This was it, Evelyn recalls thinking, everything would go back to how it used to be; they would go rabbiting in the Phoenix Park, take trips in the car and visit the strawberry beds.
  • It does, however, need plenty of exercise and will enjoy a days rabbiting, should the opportunity arise.
2British informal Talk at length, especially about trivial matters: stop rabbiting on, will you, and go to bed!
[from rabbit and pork, rhyming slang for 'talk']
More example sentences
  • Our mate Robbo came over here for a few weeks last year and when he got back he couldn't stop rabbiting on about the place.
  • Some of you may remember, in the dim and distant recesses of your cobwebbed memory, that last week I was rabbiting on about my son's chums and their abundance of confidence when it came to chit-chatting with adults.
  • He answered the shop phone and an executive-type started rabbiting on about buying a laptop computer.
3 informal Move quickly; run away: he rabbited as soon as he saw us coming
More example sentences
  • I noticed another junkie watching me: he was trying to decide whether to rabbit or freeze.
  • Carlos wants to know why they rabbited and did someone tip them off.
  • A rushing in the bushes to her left let her know the Doolittle boys had rabbited.


late Middle English: apparently from Old French (compare with French dialect rabotte 'young rabbit'), perhaps of Dutch origin (compare with Flemish robbe).


breed like rabbits

informal Reproduce prolifically.
More example sentences
  • Indeed, the main reason for the continued increase in world population is, in the words of a UN consultant, ‘not that people suddenly started breeding like rabbits; it's just that they stopped dying like flies’ .
  • He is trying to prevent bunnies breeding like rabbits.
  • As for those damned geese, covering our footpaths with droppings, the things breed like rabbits and, on more than one occasion, have stopped traffic as they saunter across our roads.

pull a rabbit out of the (or a) hat

Do something unexpected but ingeniously effective in response to a problem: everyone is waiting to see if the king can pull a rabbit out of the hat and announce a ceasefire the Finance Minister pulled a few rabbits out of the hat to balance the Budget last year
[with reference to a magician's trick]
More example sentences
  • A tall order, in particular for the seniors, but with victory at this level long overdue don't be at all surprised if the team pulls a rabbit out of the hat in the guise of a victory that would send us careering into the semi final.
  • Kind of like pulling a rabbit out of the hat, only with the Supreme Court.
  • All musicians understand that even after years of musical scholarship, in the end, composing successfully is a lot like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.



More example sentences
  • The playwright's rabbity, put-upon Everyloser is a clock-tower sniper in the making; a weird, nervous, socially maladjusted little knot of nerves riddled with neuroses, delusions and obsessive-compulsions.
  • There - munching on a pot plant, stuffing his insolent rabbity face.
  • He paused, his black, rabbity eyes examining the audience.

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