- any of various rodents having aquatic habits.
- the muskrat, Ondatra zibethica.
- (in Australia and New Guinea) any of the aquatic rats of the subfamily Hydromyinae, especially of the genus Hydromys.
- Slang. a vagrant or thief who frequents a waterfront.
Origin of water rat
First recorded in 1545–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for water rat
Think of living so near a beaver or a water-rat with clothes on!Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
The water-rat came from a hole five feet above the river-level.
“The only offensive thing I have is a pair of incisors,” said the water-rat.
Ray says, and Linnæus after him, that the water-rat is web-footed behind.The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 1
Indeed he had been known among his playmates in the old country as the “Water-rat.”The Buffalo Runners
- any of several small amphibious rodents, esp the water vole or the muskrat
- any of various amphibious rats of the subfamily Hydromyinae, of New Guinea, the Philippines, and Australia
- informal a person who is very fond of water sports