Definition of rabbit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrabɪt/


1A gregarious burrowing 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.
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.
British  coney
children's word bunny (rabbit)
1.1 [mass noun] The flesh of the rabbit as food: chunks of rabbit and chicken [as modifier]: rabbit pies
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.
1.2 [mass noun] The fur of the rabbit.
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.
1.3 North American term for hare.
1.4 informal A poor performer in a sport or game, in particular (in cricket) a poor batsman: he was a total rabbit with the bat
More example sentences
  • Elsewhere both the English and Indian rabbits failed miserably in their quest for world domination.
1.5US A runner who acts as pacesetter in the first laps of a race.
2British informal A conversation: we had quite a heated rabbit about it
From rabbit and pork, rhyming slang for 'talk'

verb (rabbits, rabbiting, rabbited)

[no object]
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!
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
  • Frank, why did you rabbit?
  • I spotted him, and he rabbited and abandoned the car.
  • A rushing in the bushes to her left let her know the Doolittle boys had rabbited.



breed like rabbits

informal Reproduce prolifically: they drank like fishes and bred like rabbits
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 (or bring) 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
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.

thank your mother for the rabbits

Australian A catchphrase used as a farewell: see you tomorrow and thank your mother for the rabbits
Popularly attributed to the Depression years when rabbits were welcome gifts
More example sentences
  • Bon voyage and thank your mother for the rabbits!
  • Thanks for the lift and thank your mother for the rabbits.
  • I'm out of here, thank you boys, and thank your mother for the rabbits.



Pronunciation: /ˈrabɪti/
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.


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

  • We think of rabbits as being as much part of the language as of the countryside, but the rabbit was introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 12th century to provide meat and fur. The name is not recorded until the late 14th century, when it meant particularly a young animal of this kind. Before that, rabbits were known as conies. In 16th-century slang a coney was what we would now call a mark—someone to cheat or rob, and doing so was known as ‘coney-catching’. We are not sure where rabbit comes from, but it seems to have come into English from Old French, related to French dialect rabotte meaning ‘young rabbit’. It may be of Dutch origin and have a link with Flemish robbei ‘rabbit’. To breed like rabbits is to reproduce prolifically, like the animal itself. This view of rabbits is of quite long standing. In 1868 Queen Victoria explained why she could not be too excited by acquiring a fourteenth grandchild. ‘It seems to me’ she wrote to her eldest daughter ‘to go on like the rabbits in Windsor Park!’ A person who chatters incessantly is sometimes said to ‘rabbit on’. This expression comes from mid 20th-century rhyming slang, in which rabbit and pork means ‘talk’. See also bunny

Words that rhyme with rabbit

Babbitt, cohabit, habit, rabbet

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rab¦bit

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