any of numerous small burrowing rodents of the genus Gerbillus and related genera, of Asia, Africa, and southern Russia, having long hind legs used for jumping.
Also called tamarisk gerbil. a jird, Meriones unguiculatus, that is popular as a pet.
Also called sand rat.

1840–50; < French gerbille < Neo-Latin gerbillus, diminutive of gerbo jerboa Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gerbil or gerbille (ˈdʒɜːbɪl)
any burrowing rodent of the subfamily Gerbillinae, inhabiting hot dry regions of Asia and Africa and having soft pale fur: family Cricetidae
[C19: from French gerbille, from New Latin gerbillus a little jerboa]
gerbille or gerbille
[C19: from French gerbille, from New Latin gerbillus a little jerboa]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1849, from Fr. gerbille, from Mod.L. Gerbillus, the genus name, from gerbo, from Ar. yarbu.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It is not as if business students are taking electives in gerbil spinal manipulation.
Obviously, the objective would be to quickly initiate the correct treatment before the virtual gerbil croaks.
Maybe what the gerbil needs is the result of the digging, not the behavior itself.
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