Definition of rod in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɒd/


1A thin straight bar, especially of wood or metal: concrete walls reinforced with steel rods a curtain rod
More example sentences
  • These elegantly diminutive, finely wrought sculptures employ curved, flat and linear shapes that perch upon thin metal rods.
  • Approximately half of the tubes are filled with thin steel rods, which radiate outward to varying lengths.
  • In the living room, a chainmail curtain hung from a metal rod is a fireguard for the aluminium clad fireplace.
bar, stick, pole, baton, staff;
shaft, strut, rail, spoke;
cane, birch, switch
historical knout
1.1A wand or staff as a symbol of office, authority, or power: the royal insignia included the ring, the sceptre, and the rod
More example sentences
  • She's all about the discipline of the rod and the power of a dollar.
  • Chiron raises two fingers in the standard antique gesture of a teacher while holding a rod in his other hand.
  • There were also numerous pictures of Cadere, youthful and earnest, a modern shaman with rod in hand.
staff, wand, mace, sceptre;
Greek Mythology  caduceus
1.2A slender straight stick or shoot growing on or cut from a tree or bush: the roof is formed of willow and hazel rods woven between willow rafters
1.3A stick used for caning or flogging: he swung the rod again in a threatening arc
More example sentences
  • I say relatively, because all too frequently you've broken the very rules you vow to uphold, particularly through your selective choice and editing of sequences of material which you then employ as a rod with which to beat us, and others.
1.4 (the rod) The use of a stick as punishment: if you’d been my daughter, you’d have felt the rod
corporal punishment, the cane, the lash, the birch, the belt, the strap;
beating, flogging, caning, birching
1.5 vulgar slang A man’s penis.
2A fishing rod: he hooked an enormous fish which almost pulled the rod from out of his hands the largest carp ever caught on rod and line in Britain
More example sentences
  • He is shown with a huge carp and a rod for fishing.
  • Sorry, but you have to leave the fly fishing rods at home.
  • Over the past fifty years I have used dozens of fly fishing rods.
2.1An angler: over a hundred rods turned out for the day, including some famous names
3 historical, chiefly British another term for perch3 (sense 1).
3.1 (also square rod) another term for perch3 (sense 2).
4US informal A pistol or revolver.
5 Anatomy A light-sensitive cell of one of the two types present in large numbers in the retina of the eye, responsible mainly for monochrome vision in poor light. Compare with cone (sense 3 of the noun).
Example sentences
  • Messing with our rods and cones, Downing's saturated dots stick around perceptually in afterimages.
  • Be warned, if you sit too close to the screen, the TV may do permanent damage to your rods and cones.



kiss the rod

see kiss.

make a rod for one's own back

Do something likely to cause difficulties for oneself later.
Example sentences
  • Before I started it, people said, ‘You're making a rod for your own back with that lot,’ but as a group they were the best people I'd ever worked with.
  • You don't make a rod for your own back when you manage a club like Rangers.
  • The FA have made a rod for their own back with this decision, which could now make the game almost impossible to govern.

rule with a rod of iron

Control or govern very strictly or harshly: she ruled their lives with a rod of iron
More example sentences
  • I learned through gossip that she ruled her family with a rod of iron and she controlled the purse strings to her fortune.
  • The prosecution claims that he was a father of very strong tradition who ruled his home with a rod of iron.
  • For now, the man who has ruled the country with a rod of iron for more than three decades can sleep relatively soundly.

spare the rod and spoil the child

proverb If children are not physically punished when they do wrong their personal development will suffer.
Example sentences
  • I am of 1920s vintage and in those days it was spare the rod and spoil the child and children should be seen and not heard.
  • You see, being traditional Chinese, my parents believed in the notion ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.
  • He was a man of his time, when the philosophy was ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ - very different from today.



Example sentences
  • The plate is suspended from an oversized rodless cylinder capable of ejecting an off-spec bag and returning to the ‘home’ position.
  • Its suit claimed that products from the pneumatics manufacturer infringed on two of his patents for magnetically coupled rodless pistons.


Example sentences
  • This membrane has an ultrastructure consisting of a mosaic of 10-nm-wide parallel rodlets.
  • Patches of adsorbed rodlets were observed on the substrate during AFM visualization of B. thuringiensis spores.
  • In studies of class I hydrophobin rodlets it has been estimated that the rodlet diameters range from 2 to 15 nm, which is also within the range of some other amyloid proteins.


Example sentences
  • The former can be considered as a two-dimensional superlattice structure, which contains between 10 and 30 rod-like aggregates.
  • Mercerized cotton is treated to permanently straighten the cotton fibers which then becomes a smooth, rod-like fiber that is uniform in appearance with a high luster.
  • A rod-like device, sometimes made of expandable metal mesh, is used to prop open a narrowed artery, typically as part of an angioplasty procedure.


Late Old English rodd 'slender shoot growing on or cut from a tree', also 'straight stick or bundle of twigs used to inflict punishment'; probably related to Old Norse rudda 'club'.

  • In Old English rod meant ‘slender shoot growing on or cut from a tree’ but also ‘straight stick or bundle of twigs used to inflict punishment’, and phrases linked with it tend to evoke traditional, and severe, ideas of discipline. If you exert control over someone strictly or harshly you may be said to rule them with a rod of iron. The expression goes back to the Bible, to Psalms: ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.’ The proverb spare the rod and spoil the child, meaning that if children are not physically punished when they do wrong their personal development will suffer, is found from Anglo-Saxon times. It too has a biblical origin, from Proverbs: ‘He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.’ See also kiss

Words that rhyme with rod

bod, clod, cod, god, hod, mod, nod, od, odd, plod, pod, prod, quad, quod, scrod, shod, squad, tod, Todd, trod, wad

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rod

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