- any of various small rodents, as the kangaroo rat, inhabiting arid regions.
- Chiefly Western U.S. one who lives in the desert, especially in order to prospect for gold or other valuable minerals.
- Informal. a soldier fighting in the N African desert in World War II, especially a British soldier.
Origin of desert rat
An Americanism dating back to 1905–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a jerboa, Jaculus orientalis, inhabiting the deserts of N Africa
- British informal a soldier who served in North Africa with the British 7th Armoured Division in 1941–42
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