[ rod ]
See synonyms for rod on
  1. a stick, wand, staff, or the like, of wood, metal, or other material.

  2. a straight, slender shoot or stem of any woody plant, whether still growing or cut from the plant.

  1. (in plastering or mortaring) a straightedge moved along screeds to even the plaster between them.

  2. a stick used for measuring.

  3. Archaic. a unit of linear measure, 5.5 yards or 16.5 feet (5.029 meters); linear perch or pole.

  4. Archaic. a unit of square measure, 30.25 square yards (25.29 sq. m); square perch or pole.

  5. a stick, or a bundle of sticks or switches bound together, used as an instrument of punishment.

  6. punishment or discipline: Not one to spare the rod, I sent him to bed without dinner.

  7. a wand, staff, or scepter carried as a symbol of office, authority, power, etc.

  8. authority, sway, or rule, especially when tyrannical.

  9. a slender bar or tube for draping towels over, suspending a shower curtain, etc.

  10. Bible. a branch of a family; tribe.

  11. a pattern, drawn on wood in full size, of one section of a piece of furniture.

  12. Slang.

    • a pistol or revolver.

    • Vulgar. the penis.

  13. Anatomy. one of the rodlike cells in the retina of the eye, sensitive to low intensities of light.: Compare cone (def. 5).

  14. Bacteriology. a rod-shaped microorganism.

  15. Also called leveling rod, stadia rod. Surveying. a light pole, conspicuously marked with graduations, held upright and read through a surveying instrument in leveling or stadia surveying.

  16. Metallurgy. round metal stock for drawing and cutting into slender bars.

verb (used with object),rod·ded, rod·ding.
  1. to furnish or equip with a rod or rods, especially lightning rods.

  2. to even (plaster or mortar) with a rod.

  1. Metallurgy. to reinforce (the core of a mold) with metal rods.

Origin of rod

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

Other words from rod

  • rodless, adjective
  • rodlike, adjective

Words Nearby rod

Other definitions for Rod (2 of 2)

[ rod ]

  1. a male given name, form of Roderick or Rodney. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rod in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rod


/ (rɒd) /

  1. a slim cylinder of metal, wood, etc; stick or shaft

  2. a switch or bundle of switches used to administer corporal punishment

  1. any of various staffs of insignia or office

  2. power, esp of a tyrannical kind: a dictator's iron rod

  3. a straight slender shoot, stem, or cane of a woody plant

  4. Also called: pole, perch

    • a unit of length equal to 5 1/2 yards

    • a unit of square measure equal to 30 1/4 square yards

  5. a straight narrow board marked with the dimensions of a piece of joinery, as the spacing of steps on a staircase

  6. a metal shaft that transmits power in axial reciprocating motion: piston rod, con(necting) rod Compare shaft (def. 5)

  7. surveying another name (esp US) for staff 1 (def. 8)

  8. Also called: retinal rod any of the elongated cylindrical cells in the retina of the eye, containing the visual purple (rhodopsin), which are sensitive to dim light but not to colour: Compare cone (def. 5)

  9. any rod-shaped bacterium

  10. a slang word for penis

  11. US slang name for pistol (def. 1)

  12. short for hot rod

Origin of rod

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

Derived forms of rod

  • rodlike, adjective

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 ]

  1. 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.