or pack·rat


verb (used with object), pack-rat·ted, pack-rat·ting. Informal.

to save in the manner of a pack rat: I’m looking through the stuff my grandpa pack-ratted away in the attic.

Nearby words

  1. pack shot,
  2. pack them in,
  3. pack up,
  4. pack wall,
  5. pack-horse,
  6. pack-year,
  7. packable,
  8. package,
  9. package deal,
  10. package store

pack rat

or pack·rat


Also called trade rat, wood rat. a large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.
Informal. a person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.
Informal. an old prospector or guide.

Origin of pack rat

First recorded in 1840–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pack-rat

  • The pack-rat ran back to its hole and made its exit without loss of time, but Clarice sobbed aloud in hysterical fear.

    Hope Hathaway|Frances Parker
  • Then either the pack-rat reformed into a trade-rat, or else he sold out his claim to a trade-rat.

    Friar Tuck|Robert Alexander Wason
  • A pack-rat dont care a peg whether he can use an article or not; all he asks is the privilege of totin it about somewhere.

    Friar Tuck|Robert Alexander Wason
  • A pack-rat is about three times as big as a barn rat, an fifteen times as energetic.

    Friar Tuck|Robert Alexander Wason

British Dictionary definitions for pack-rat

pack rat


any rat of the genus Neotoma, of W North America, having a long tail that is furry in some species: family CricetidaeAlso called: wood rat
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 pack-rat



common name for the North American bushytailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea) 1885, from pack (v.); so called from the rodents' habit of dragging objects off to their holes. Used figuratively or allusively from c.1850 of persons who won't discard anything, which means either the rat's name is older than the record or the human sense is the original one.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper