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wharf rat

a large brown rat that is commonly found on wharves.
a person who lives or loiters near wharves, often existing by pilfering from ships or warehouses.
Origin of wharf rat
1815-25, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wharf-rat
Historical Examples
  • But you see, there aint a wharf-rat left in Windover as ud trust me now!

    A Singular Life Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • It was strong enough of nicotine to drive a wharf-rat to suicide.

    The Flying Bo'sun Arthur Mason
  • Jack guessed why Gray had tried to irritate him,—he saw that the well-known “wharf-rat” was to be his competitor.

    The Hoosier School-boy Edward Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for wharf-rat

wharf rat

any rat, usually a brown rat, that infests wharves
(informal) a person who haunts wharves, usually for dishonest purposes
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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