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[rat-hohl] /ˈrætˌhoʊl/
a hole made by a rat, as into a room, barn, etc.:
The first chore in the old building is to plug up the ratholes.
the burrow or shelter of a rat.
any small and uncomfortable room, office, apartment, etc., especially one that is dirty or disordered:
He lives in a rathole near the docks.
down the rathole, for a worthless purpose or purposes:
seeing your inheritance disappear down the rathole.
Origin of rathole
First recorded in 1805-15; rat + hole Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rathole
Historical Examples
  • You will have to take a groundcar to rathole and bring the fellow back.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
  • He had seven hours to go and he was still at least 16 kilometers from rathole.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
  • There was nothing to do but turn back to rathole and see if some other way could not be found.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
  • One of the men of rathole came to Jan's side and tried the engines.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
  • He knew every rathole of the system, with the same intimacy the rats knew them.

    Shock Treatment Stanley Mullen
  • The platform was in a warehouse which, like the rest of the structures in rathole, was a half-buried dome.

    Wind Charles Louis Fontenay
Slang definitions & phrases for rathole



A wretched, messy place; a filthy hovel; dump: Those days we lived in a rathole (1812+)


To store up food and supplies; stockpile; stash (1950s+)

Related Terms

pour money down the drain

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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