Definition of rodent in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈrəʊd(ə)nt/


A gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives, distinguished by strong constantly growing incisors and no canine teeth. They constitute the largest order of mammals.
Example sentences
  • Gophers are rodents and have large incisors, like squirrels and mice, that are used for gnawing.
  • Clean around the bins too, removing high grass, weeds, spilled grain, and debris that attracts insects, rodents, woodchucks and other undesirable wildlife.
  • However, the second cell must be maintained to keep weeds from growing or rodents from burrowing and potentially damaging the liner.


Mid 19th century: from Latin rodent- 'gnawing', from the verb rodere.

  • The teeth of rodents such as rats and mice grow continuously and must be kept worn down by gnawing, a fact that gives a clue about the origin of the term rodent. The word comes from Latin rodere ‘to gnaw’, which is related to erode (early 17th century), corrode, root, and rostrum. The original sense of the word is preserved in that unpleasant affliction the rodent ulcer.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ro¦dent

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.