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black rat

an Old World rat, Rattus rattus, now common in the southern U.S., having a black or brown body with grayish or white underparts.
Origin of black rat
First recorded in 1765-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for black rat
Historical Examples
  • The disappearance of the black rat was remarked by Pennant as far back as 1778.

  • By its dull reflection, the black rat could just distinguish his own whiskers.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Had it not been for the chieftain, the black rat might have regained the run.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • The rabbit, black rat, brown rat and mouse have been introduced.

  • On the score of sentiment we need not distinguish between the black rat and the Brown.

  • The black rat sat back on his haunches, pricked up his ears, and listened.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Every rat knows the scratching of his relations; but the black rat had no relations.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • The black rat retreated in good order, and established himself once more in a corner of the cellar.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Harvest mice and dormice, although widely distributed, are not numerous, and the original English black rat is now rare.

    Devonshire Francis A. Knight
  • He also states that the black rat and the roof rat (Alexandrinus), both varieties of M. rattus, differ chiefly in color.

    Plague Thomas Wright Jackson
British Dictionary definitions for black rat

black rat

a common rat, Rattus rattus: a household pest that has spread from its native Asia to all countries
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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