gerbil

[ jur-buhl ]
/ ˈdʒɜr bəl /

noun

any of numerous small burrowing rodents of the genus Gerbillus and related genera, of Asia, Africa, and southern Russia, having long hind legs used for jumping.
Also called tamarisk gerbil. a jird, Meriones unguiculatus, that is popular as a pet.

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What does “barren” mean?
Also called sand rat.

Origin of gerbil

1840–50; <French gerbille<New Latin gerbillus, diminutive of gerbojerboa
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for gerbil

gerbil

gerbille

/ (ˈdʒɜːbɪl) /

noun

any burrowing rodent of the subfamily Gerbillinae, inhabiting hot dry regions of Asia and Africa and having soft pale fur: family Cricetidae

Word Origin for gerbil

C19: from French gerbille, from New Latin gerbillus a little jerboa
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