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muskrat

[muhsk-rat] /ˈmʌskˌræt/
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
1680-1690
1680-90, Americanism; alteration, by folk etymology, of musquash
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for musk rat

muskrat

/ˈmʌskˌræt/
noun (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)
Often (informal) shortened to musquash
Word Origin
C17: by folk etymology, from the same source as musquash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for musk rat

muskrat

n.

also musk-rat, 1610s, alteration (by association with musk and rat) of musquash, from Algonquian (probably Powhatan) muscascus, literally "it is red," so called for its colorings. From cognate Abenaki muskwessu comes variant form musquash (1620s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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