belonging or pertaining to the gnawing or nibbling mammals of the order Rodentia, including the mice, squirrels, beavers, etc.


a rodent mammal.

Origin of rodent

1825–35; < New Latin Rodentia Rodentia
Related formsro·dent·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rodent

Contemporary Examples of rodent

  • She paints the current rodent situation as more than a foul inconvenience, and one that is a particular blight on poorer areas.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Crowdsourcing NYC’s War on Rats

    Kevin Zawacki

    June 24, 2014

  • Or once in a while the rodent will spread infection by biting causing a disease called, chillingly enough, rat bite fever.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Yosemite Hanta Virus: Nature Strikes Back

    Kent Sepkowitz

    September 3, 2012

Historical Examples of rodent

  • Aëtius differentiates phagedenic and rodent ulcers and cancer.

  • The problem was to get shut of the Rodent without resorting to any Rough Stuff.

    Ade's Fables

    George Ade

  • That was entirely the work of the rodent animals, the pacas, cavies, and agoutis.

  • The three are all “rodent” animals, and the capivara is the largest “rodent” that is known.

  • Not that Ugolini, with his rodent's face, was any more attractive than his mistress.

British Dictionary definitions for rodent



  1. any of the relatively small placental mammals that constitute the order Rodentia, having constantly growing incisor teeth specialized for gnawing. The group includes porcupines, rats, mice, squirrels, marmots, etc
  2. (as modifier)rodent characteristics
Derived Formsrodent-like, adjective

Word Origin for rodent

C19: from Latin rōdere to gnaw, corrode
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 rodent

1835 (as an adjective 1833), from Modern Latin Rodentia, the order name, from Latin rodentem (nominative rodens), present participle of rodere "to gnaw, eat away," from PIE root *red- "to scrape, scratch, gnaw" (cf. Sanskrit radati "scrapes, gnaws," radanah "tooth;" Latin radere "to scrape;" Welsh rhathu "scrape, polish"). Uncertain connection to Old English rætt (see rat (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

rodent in Science



Any of various very numerous, mostly small mammals of the order Rodentia, having large front teeth used for gnawing. The teeth grow throughout the animal's life, and are kept from getting too long by gnawing. Rodents make up about half the living species of mammals, and include rats, mice, beavers, squirrels, lemmings, shrews, and hamsters.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.