- either of two aquatic, insectivorous mammals, Myogale moschata, of southeastern Russia, or M. pyrenaica, of the Pyrenees, related to shrews.
Origin of desman
1765–75; < Swedish, short for desman-råtta muskrat
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Examples from the Web for desman
Desman, des′man, n. a kind of musk-rat, found in Russia and the Pyrenees.
- either of two molelike amphibious mammals Desmana moschata (Russian desman) or Galemys pyrenaicus (Pyrenean desman), having dense fur and webbed feet: family Talpidae, order Insectivora (insectivores)
C18: from Swedish desmansråtta, from desman musk (of Germanic origin) + råtta rat
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