[ jur-buh l ]
/ ˈdʒɜr bəl /


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.

Origin of gerbil

1840–50; < French gerbille < New Latin gerbillus, diminutive of gerbo jerboa
Also called sand rat. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for gerbil



/ (ˈdʒɜːbɪl) /


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