musk rat

muskrat

[muhsk-rat]
noun, plural muskrats (especially collectively) muskrat.
1.
a large, aquatic, North American rodent, Ondatra zibethica, having a musky odor.
2.
its thick, light-brown fur, used for coats, for hats, as a trimming, etc.

Origin:
1680–90, Americanism; alteration, by folk etymology, of musquash

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World English Dictionary
muskrat (ˈmʌskˌræt)
 
n , pl -rats, -rat
1.  a North American beaver-like amphibious rodent, Ondatra zibethica, closely related to but larger than the voles: family Cricetidae
2.  the brown fur of this animal
3.  either of two closely related rodents, Ondatra obscurus or Neofiber alleni (round-tailed muskrat)
 
[C17: by folk etymology, from the same source as musquash]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

muskrat
1607, alteration (by association with musk and rat) of Algonquian (probably Powhatan) muscascus, lit. "it is red," so called for its colorings. From cognate Abenaki muskwessu comes variant form musquash (1624).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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