- 1A rodent that resembles a large mouse, typically having a pointed snout and a long, sparsely haired tail. Some kinds have become cosmopolitan and are sometimes responsible for transmitting diseases.
More example sentences
- Family Muridae: many genera, including Rattus (the Old World rats), and several hundred species
- Most people are familiar with mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, which are commonly kept as pets.
- Cane rats should not be confused with domestic rodents such as rats and mice which can be disease-carrying vermin.
- Up until 1987 this kind of experiment had only done in rodents, rats and mice, and in lower organisms.
- 2 • informal A person regarded as despicable, especially a man who has been deceitful or disloyal.More example sentences
- He, who's a braggart and a drunk and a rat and a scoundrel, at his death bed, says, I find Christ.
- How can you make a philandering love cheat, who works his way through a family of sisters, anything but a rogue and a rat?
- ‘For your information this little rat insulted me’ Debbie huffed sticking her chin up snobbishly.
- 2.1An informer.More example sentences
- It's different when Right Wingers want to crush free speech and create a police state environment of informers and rats in a house of worship.
- I go by beeper now because there's too many rats [informants] on the street.
- Mr. Ken told me that the rat was an informant for the enemy.
- 3 [with adjective] North American • informal A person who is associated with or frequents a specified place: you and the rest of the tavern rats will have to find a new hangout LA mall ratsMore example sentences
- There's nowhere else I'd rather be right now - on a trip in South Africa with a good crew and having fun, skating everyday, and doing a real skate rat tour.
- Mali, while seeming sophisticated, wanders in and out of ghetto rat behavior, especially when it comes to her man, Tad Honeywell.
- At the first, it was decided to axe three popular characters - love rat doctor Matt Ramsden, his teacher wife Charlie, and shopworker Bobbi Lewis.
exclamation(rats) • informal Back to top
- Used to express mild annoyance or irritation.More example sentences
- I just came upstairs to check the price of something on eBay (under $10, rats!) and saw the clock.
- Divisions were actually for sale at Behnke, a nursery local to me and I didn't know it - rats!
verb (rats, ratting, ratted)[no object] Back to top
- 1 (usually as noun ratting) (Of a person, dog, or cat) hunt or kill rats.More example sentences
- In another era, perhaps he and his mates would simply have gone out poaching or ratting, grumbling about bloody women along the way.
- The Shar Pei still exhibits these herding and ratting instincts.
- The Giant Schnauzer's original job was ratting.
- 2 • informal Desert one’s party, side, or cause.More example sentences
- The Stability Pact was to have kept the currency health, but it became inconvenient for France, which ratted, followed by Germany, France, Italy, Holland, and Greece.
- Shortly afterwards, getting into his car, he was called by name and, when he turned, was shot through the forehead by a fellow extremist who suspected he had ratted.
- The other men don't shoot the soldier who ratted, however.
- 3US Give (hair) shape or fullness with a rat.More example sentences
- Her ponytail was ratted and her bangs were sticking up all over while her braids were perfectly fine as they always were.
- She's got long black hair, ratted and dry, and it hangs down over her shoulders like a fern that hasn't been watered in weeks.
- There was Stacey in her big girl bra, ratted out hair and adult acne.
rat on (also rat out)
- • informal Inform on (someone) to a person in a position of authority: I never thought Stash would rat on me men will literally choose death over ratting out another prisonerMore example sentences
- Words and titles are about to become very important as people figure out which one of Cheney's goons ratted her out.
- ‘I don't think you should rat her out, but let her know you saw her cheating and that it could get her in a lot of trouble,’ suggests Lindsay.
- I hadn't planned on ratting Ryan out anyway, but his response had taken me by surprise.
- Break (an agreement or promise): he accused the government of ratting on an earlier pledgeMore example sentences
- If we believe Gordon's account, as relayed through Robert Peston, Blair ratted on a promise to go by November of last year.
- He ratted on his promise to take me with him - saying that there would be questions in the parliament if he spent too much money.
- Whatever the cause, France ratted on his agreement, retaking Brest by force.
Old English ræt, probably of Romance origin; reinforced in Middle English by Old French rat. The verb dates from the early 19th century.