a large brown rat that is commonly found on wharves.
a person who lives or loiters near wharves, often existing by pilfering from ships or warehouses.
Origin of wharf rat
An Americanism dating back to 1815–25
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for wharf rat
Historical Examples of wharf rat
It was strong enough of nicotine to drive a wharf-rat to suicide.
But you see, there aint a wharf-rat left in Windover as ud trust me now!
Jack guessed why Gray had tried to irritate him,—he saw that the well-known “wharf-rat” was to be his competitor.
British Dictionary definitions for wharf rat
any rat, usually a brown rat, that infests wharves
informal a person who haunts wharves, usually for dishonest purposes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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