pack rat

or pack·rat

See more synonyms for pack rat on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. 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.
  2. Informal. a person who saves things that are not needed or used but that may have personal or other value.
  3. Informal. an old prospector or guide.

Origin of pack rat

First recorded in 1840–50

pack-rat

or pack·rat

[pak-rat]
verb (used with object), pack-rat·ted, pack-rat·ting. Informal.
  1. to save in the manner of a pack rat: I’m looking through the stuff my grandpa pack-ratted away in the attic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for packrat

collector, accumulator, gatherer

British Dictionary definitions for packrat

pack rat

noun
  1. 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 packrat

pack-rat

n.

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