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See more synonyms for hamster on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of several short-tailed, stout-bodied, burrowing rodents, as Cricetus cricetus, of Europe and Asia, having large cheek pouches.
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Origin of hamster

1600–10; < German; compare Old High German hamastro, Old Saxon hamstra weevil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hamster

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • German Hamster: Cricetus cricetus, the black-bellied hamster.

  • The European hamster is at least twice the size of the Syrian or golden hamster.

  • Among these the Hamster of Germany (Cricetus frumentarius) is not the least ingenious.

  • The Nipe is far from being so simple as a monkey or a hamster.

    Anything You Can Do ...

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • A hamster, for example, cannot choose to behave in the manner of a rhesus monkey.

    Anything You Can Do ...

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for hamster


  1. any Eurasian burrowing rodent of the tribe Cricetini, such as Mesocricetus auratus (golden hamster), having a stocky body, short tail, and cheek pouches: family Cricetidae. They are popular pets
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Word Origin

C17: from German, from Old High German hamustro, of Slavic origin
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

Word Origin and History for hamster


c.1600, from German Hamster, from Middle High German hamastra "hamster," probably from Old Church Slavonic chomestoru "hamster" (the animal is native to southeastern Europe), perhaps a blend of Russian chomiak and Lithuanian staras, both meaning "hamster." The older English name for it was German rat.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper