- to save in the manner of a pack rat: I’m looking through the stuff my grandpa pack-ratted away in the attic.
- Also called trade rat, wood rat. a large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
- Informal. a person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.
- Informal. an old prospector or guide.
Origin of pack rat
Examples from the Web for pack-rat
A pack-rat is about three times as big as a barn rat, an fifteen times as energetic.
Then either the pack-rat reformed into a trade-rat, or else he sold out his claim to a trade-rat.
A pack-rat dont care a peg whether he can use an article or not; all he asks is the privilege of totin it about somewhere.
The pack-rat ran back to its hole and made its exit without loss of time, but Clarice sobbed aloud in hysterical fear.Hope Hathaway
- any rat of the genus Neotoma, of W North America, having a long tail that is furry in some species: family CricetidaeAlso called: wood rat
Word Origin and History for pack-rat
common name for the North American bushytailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea) 1885, from pack (v.); so called from the rodents' habit of dragging objects off to their holes. Used figuratively or allusively from c.1850 of persons who won't discard anything, which means either the rat's name is older than the record or the human sense is the original one.