- a person who abandons or betrays his or her party or associates, especially in a time of trouble.
- an informer.
- a scab laborer.
verb (used without object), rat·ted, rat·ting.
- to desert one's party or associates, especially in a time of trouble.
- to turn informer; squeal: He ratted on the gang, and the police arrested them.
- to work as a scab.
verb (used with object), rat·ted, rat·ting.
Words nearby rat
Idioms for rat
Origin of rat
OTHER WORDS FROM ratrat·like, adjective
British Dictionary definitions for smell a rat
verb rats, ratting or ratted
- to divulge secret information (about); betray the trust (of)
- to default (on); abandonhe ratted on the project at the last minute
Derived forms of ratratlike, adjective
Word Origin for rat
Medicine definitions for smell a rat
Culture definitions for smell a rat
To sense foul play: “They claim they will honor the terms of the contract, but I smell a rat.”
Idioms and Phrases with smell a rat (1 of 2)
Suspect something is wrong, especially a betrayal of some kind. For example, When I didn't hear any more from my prospective employer, I began to smell a rat. This expression alludes to a cat sniffing out a rat. [c. 1550]
Idioms and Phrases with smell a rat (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with rat
- rat on
- rat race
- like a drowned rat
- smell a rat