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water rat

any of various rodents having aquatic habits.
the muskrat, Ondatra zibethica.
(in Australia and New Guinea) any of the aquatic rats of the subfamily Hydromyinae, especially of the genus Hydromys.
Slang. a vagrant or thief who frequents a waterfront.
Origin of water rat
1545-55 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for water-rat
Historical Examples
  • “The only offensive thing I have is a pair of incisors,” said the water-rat.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • Indeed he had been known among his playmates in the old country as the “water-rat.”

    The Buffalo Runners R.M. Ballantyne
  • "water-rat," whispers the Imp to the Elf, and we do not move so much as a hair, any of us.

    Pond and Stream Arthur Ransome
  • Ray says, and Linnæus after him, that the water-rat is web-footed behind.

  • I have been told by peasants who had eaten them, that it is hardly preferable to that of the water-rat.

    Buffon's Natural History. Volume VI (of 10) Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon
  • Come out, you water-rat,” cried Barnaby, “you son of a cinder!

    Jacob Faithful Captain Frederick Marryat
  • Francis always assumed that everyone must be just as anxious about their common relative, the water-rat, as he was.

    Twelve Types G.K. Chesterton
  • A water-rat came out of his hole and fed in the grass close by.

    Wood Magic Richard Jefferies
  • Light brown fur from water-rat, ribbed with narrow gold tinsel.

    Old Flies in New Dresses Charles Edward Walker
  • The surmulot, in some of its habits, resembles the water-rat.

    Buffon's Natural History. Volume VI (of 10) Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon
British Dictionary definitions for water-rat

water rat

any of several small amphibious rodents, esp the water vole or the muskrat
any of various amphibious rats of the subfamily Hydromyinae, of New Guinea, the Philippines, and Australia
(informal) a person who is very fond of water sports
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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