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[jer-boh-uh, jer-] /dʒərˈboʊ ə, dʒɛr-/
any of various mouselike rodents of North Africa and Asia, as of the genera Jaculus and Dipus, with long hind legs used for jumping.
Origin of jerboa
1655-65; < New Latin < Arabic yarbūʿ; see gerbil Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jerboa
Historical Examples
  • Some commentators on the Old Testament translate the word Akbar as jerboa.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • That the jerboa may be one of the Akbarim is rendered likely by the prohibition in Lev.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • A most unusual family of skilled house-builders are the brush-tailed rat-kangaroos, or jerboa kangaroos of Australia and Tasmania.

  • Like their great cousins—the kangaroos—Mrs. jerboa often carries her babies on her back when she goes out to seek food.

  • Their hind-legs are much shorter than those of the jerboa, and their tail is garnished with but a few short, stiff hairs.

    The Desert World Arthur Mangin
  • A double parallel to this modification is seen in the jerboa among the ungulates, and in the kangaroo among the marsupials.

    The Wonders of Life Ernst Haeckel
  • A little later he was surprised to observe that the animal "went only upon two legs, making vast bounds just as the jerboa does."

  • The animal suggests a large jerboa in appearance on account of its jumping habits, the long hind-limbs, and the long tail.

  • The jerboa has very long hind legs, and a habit of jumping, so that it resembles superficially (but not really) a small kangaroo.

  • As the new-comer got on his feet again my hope gained new life, and now our jerboa is my delight.

British Dictionary definitions for jerboa


any small nocturnal burrowing rodent of the family Dipodidae, inhabiting dry regions of Asia and N Africa, having pale sandy fur, large ears, and long hind legs specialized for jumping
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin, from Arabic yarbū`
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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Word Origin and History for jerboa

small desert rodent, 1660s, Modern Latin, from Arabic jarbu "flesh of the loins," also the name of a small jumping rodent of North Africa. Cf. gerbil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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