[ rod ]
/ rɒd /
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verb (used with object), rod·ded, rod·ding.
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Origin of rod

before 1150; Middle English rodd,late Old English; akin to Old Norse rudda club


rodless, adjectiverodlike, adjective

Other definitions for rod (2 of 2)

[ rod ]
/ rɒd /

a male given name, form of Roderick or Rodney.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does rod mean?

Rod can refer to a stick, handgun, car, parts of the eye, and even, well, the penis, among many other things. ROD can additionally serve as an acronym for the slang expression ride or die.

Where does rod come from?

Rod is evidenced in Old English when it meant, well, “rod” or “pole.” Over the centuries, rod took on many senses, such as a tool for corporal punishment and a unit of measurement.

We find the word rod used for “penis” in the late 16th century. Rod crept up to the eyes–as in an eyeball’s rods and cones–by 1866.

Rod was recorded in the sense of “gun” by the 1900s and “gunman” by the 1930s. The 1950s saw rod extended to the pistons of cars, as can be found in a hot rod car.

ROD is sometimes used as an acronym for ride or die, an expression of loyalty that was popularized by hip-hop.

How is rod used in real life?

Rod is widespread in the English language, referring to all sorts of pole-like items, from fishing rods to carbon rods. Of course, Rod is a short form of such names as Roderick, Rodney, and Rodriquez, such as Rod Stewart and A-Rod.

For as old as the slang term is, rod remains a colorful euphemism for “penis,” and you’ll occasionally see rod used for “gun” in criminal contexts.

ROD, for ride or die, can be seen as a hashtag #ROD on social media as a convenient proclamation of loyalty, no matter what, to one’s compadres.


More examples of rod:

“Although this article focuses on how to replace strut rods on C2s and C3s, the procedure is similar for most other generation Corvettes. The parts options are also similar and include rubber polyurethane bushings and adjustable struts rods.”

—John Pfanstiehl, Hod Rod Network, December 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use rod in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rod

/ (rɒd) /


Derived forms of rod

rodlike, adjective

Word Origin for rod

Old English rodd; related to Old Norse rudda club, Norwegian rudda, rydda twig
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

Scientific definitions for rod

[ rŏd ]

One of the rod-shaped cells in the retina of the eye of many vertebrate animals. Rods are more sensitive to light than cones and are responsible for the ability to see in dim light. However, rods are insensitive to red wavelengths of light and do not contribute greatly to the perception of color. Compare cone.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with rod


see hot rod; spare the rod.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.