[jer-boh-uh, jer-]


any of various mouselike rodents of North Africa and Asia, as of the genera Jaculus and Dipus, with long hind legs used for jumping.

Origin of jerboa

1655–65; < New Latin < Arabic yarbūʿ; see gerbil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jerboa

Historical Examples of jerboa

  • Some commentators on the Old Testament translate the word Akbar as jerboa.

    Bible Animals;

    J. G. Wood

  • That the Jerboa may be one of the Akbarim is rendered likely by the prohibition in Lev.

    Bible Animals;

    J. G. Wood

  • A most unusual family of skilled house-builders are the brush-tailed rat-kangaroos, or Jerboa kangaroos of Australia and Tasmania.

  • Like their great cousins—the kangaroos—Mrs. Jerboa often carries her babies on her back when she goes out to seek food.

  • Their hind-legs are much shorter than those of the jerboa, and their tail is garnished with but a few short, stiff hairs.

    The Desert World

    Arthur Mangin

British Dictionary definitions for jerboa



any small nocturnal burrowing rodent of the family Dipodidae, inhabiting dry regions of Asia and N Africa, having pale sandy fur, large ears, and long hind legs specialized for jumping

Word Origin for jerboa

C17: from New Latin, from Arabic yarbū`
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 jerboa

small desert rodent, 1660s, Modern Latin, from Arabic jarbu "flesh of the loins," also the name of a small jumping rodent of North Africa. Cf. gerbil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper