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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 of muskrat
1680-1690
1680-90, Americanism; alteration, by folk etymology, of musquash
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for muskrat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The muskrat is adrift, but not homeless; his range is vastly extended, and he evidently rejoices in full streams.

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • Yes, I know all your traps, of all the sizes you use, from muskrat up to bear!

    The House in the Water Charles G. D. Roberts
  • He knew that the muskrat could not stay for ever down in that muddy crevice.

    The Watchers of the Trails Charles G. D. Roberts
  • Ictinike wished to do just as muskrat had done, but he was unable.

  • Here a fox had crossed, there a rabbit or a squirrel or a muskrat.

    Riverby John Burroughs
  • The muskrat entered his den with a bleeding foot but a thankful heart.

  • Look up the muskrat and compare his ways with those of the beaver.

  • But water does not wet the muskrat; his fur is charmed, and not a drop penetrates it.

  • The entrails of muskrat, rabbit, chicken or duck will make far better bait than the animal or bird itself.

    Steel Traps A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
British Dictionary definitions for muskrat

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 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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