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

1680–90, Americanism; alteration, by folk etymology, of musquash Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
If the water level of the dam rises, the muskrat will dig higher into the
  embankment in order to excavate a new dry chamber.
The muskrat's eyes, nose and breathing system help it adapt to life underwater.
Excellent swimmers, they also catch many fish, but their favorite prey is the
The muskrat is the only native mammal that still has a great impact on wetland
  ecology in the region.
Image for muskrat
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