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[jur-buh l] /ˈdʒɜr bəl/
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.
Origin of gerbil
1840-50; < French gerbille < New Latin gerbillus, diminutive of gerbo jerboa Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gerbil
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for gerbil


any burrowing rodent of the subfamily Gerbillinae, inhabiting hot dry regions of Asia and Africa and having soft pale fur: family Cricetidae
Word Origin
C19: from French gerbille, from New Latin gerbillus a little jerboa
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gerbil

1849, from French gerbille, from Modern Latin Gerbillus, the genus name, from gerbo, from Arabic yarbu. Earlier English form, jarbuah (1660s), was directly from Arabic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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