• "'We will see where this rat came from.'"
    "'We will see where this rat came from.'"
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v rat give away information about somebody "He told on his classmate who had cheated on the exam"
    • v rat catch rats, especially with dogs
    • v rat give (hair) the appearance of being fuller by using a rat
    • v rat take the place of work of someone on strike
    • v rat employ scabs or strike breakers in
    • v rat desert one's party or group of friends, for example, for one's personal advantage
    • n rat any of various long-tailed rodents similar to but larger than a mouse
    • n rat a pad (usually made of hair) worn as part of a woman's coiffure
    • n rat one who reveals confidential information in return for money
    • n rat a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible "only a rotter would do that","kill the rat","throw the bum out","you cowardly little pukes!","the British call a contemptible person a `git'"
    • n rat someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Bishop Hatto and the rats Bishop Hatto and the rats
rat will not gnaw rat will not gnaw
Cat after rat Cat after rat
The ploughman runs away from the horde of rats The ploughman runs away from the horde of rats
The rats in the larder The rats in the larder
William, holding a rat, looking up at his father William, holding a rat, looking up at his father
The Brown family in their pew, Mr. Brown with a rat on his head The Brown family in their pew, Mr. Brown with a rat on his head

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Rats can survive up to 14 days without any food
    • Rat A round and tapering mass of hair, or similar material, used by women to support the puffs and rolls of their natural hair.
    • Rat In English politics, to desert one's party from interested motives; to forsake one's associates for one's own advantage; in the trades, to work for less wages, or on other conditions, than those established by a trades union. "Coleridge . . . incurred the reproach of having ratted , solely by his inability to follow the friends of his early days."
    • Rat (Zoöl) One of several species of small rodents of the genus Rattusformerly included in Mus) and allied genera, of the family Muridae, distinguished from mice primarily by being larger. They infest houses, stores, and ships, especially the Norway rat , also called brown rat, (Rattus norvegicus formerly Mus decumanus), the black rat Rattus rattus formerly Mus rattus), and the roof rat formerly Mus Alexandrinus, now included in Rattus rattus). These were introduced into America from the Old World. The white rat used most commonly in laboratories is primarily a strain derived from Rattus rattus.
    • Rat One who deserts his party or associates; hence, in the trades, one who works for lower wages than those prescribed by a trades union.
    • Rat To be an informer (against an associate); to inform (on an associate); to squeal; -- used commonly in the phrase to rat on.
    • Rat To catch or kill rats.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Rats and horses can't vomit.
    • n rat A rodent of some of the larger species of the genus Mus, as M. rattus, the black rat, and M. decumanus, the gray, brown, or Norway rat: distinguished from mouse. The distinction between rat and mouse, in the application of the names to animals everywhere parasitic with man, is obvious and familiar. But these are simply larger and smaller species of the same genus, very closely related zoölogically, and in the application of the two names to the many other species of the same genus all distinction between them is lost.
    • n rat Any rodent of the family Muridæ; a murine; in the plural, the Muridæ. In this sense, rat includes mouse. American rats or mice are a particular section of the subfamily Murinæ, called Sigmodontes, conflned to America, where no other Murinæ are indigenous. Field-rats, water-rats, meadow-mice, or voles are Muridæ of the subfamily Arvicolinæ. See cuts under Arvicola, Muridæ, muskrat, Neotoma, Nesokia, and Nesomys.
    • n rat Any rodent of the suborder Myomorpha. Different animals of several families as Dipodidæ, Zapodidæ, Saccomyidæ, Geomyidæ, Spalacidæ, are often known as rats of some kind distinguished by qualifying words or compound names. See cut under mole-rat.
    • n rat Some other rodent, or some insectivore, marsupial, or other animal like or likened to a rat. Thus, among hystricomorphic rodents, many species of Octodontidæ are called rats: as, the spiny rats of the subfamily Echinomyinæ. Some large aquatic shrews are known as muskrats. (See Myogale.) Some rat-like marsupials are known as kangaroo-rats. (See bettong, and cuts under kangaroo-rat and Echimys.)
    • n rat A person who is considered to act in some respect in a manner characteristic of rats: so called in opprobrium. Specifically— A man who deserts a party or an association of any kind for one opposed to it in order to gain some personal advantage or benefit; a self-seeking turncoat; a renegade.
    • n rat A workman who accepts lower wages than those current at the time and place or required by an authorized scale, or one who takes a position vacated by a striker, or one who refuses to strike when others do.
    • n rat A clergyman: so called in contempt.
    • n rat Something suggesting the idea of a rat, as a curving roll of stuffed cloth or of crimped hair-work, with tapering ends, formerly (about 1860–70) and still occasionally used by women to puff out the hair, which was turned over it.
    • n rat Same as bandicoot, 2.
    • rat To catch or kill rats; follow the business of a ratter or rat-catcher.
    • rat To go over from one party or cause to another, especially from a party or cause that is losing or likely to lose, as rats run from a falling house; desert one's party or associates for advantage or gain; become a renegade.
    • rat To work for less than current wages, to refuse to strike with fellow-workmen, or to take the place of one who has struck: often with indefinite it. See rat, n., 5 .
    • rat To puff out (the hair) by means of a rat. See rat, n., 6.
    • rat To displace or supplant union workers in: as. to rat an office or a shop.
    • n rat A rag; tatter.
    • rat To tear.
    • rat A term of objurgation, used in the imperative.
    • rat A Middle English contracted form of redeth, the third person singular present indicative of read.
    • n rat plural An exclamation used to indicate incredulity or ironical disagreement with a statement; humbug.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Rats can survive without water longer than camels.
    • n Rat rat an animal of the genus Mus, larger and more destructive than the mouse: a renegade, turncoat: a workman who accepts lower than the authorised wages, who declines to join in a strike, or who takes a striker's work: a roll of anything used to puff out the hair which is turned over it
    • v.i Rat (coll.) to desert one's party and join their opponents for gain or power: to take lower than current wages, to refuse to join in a strike, to take a striker's place:—pr.p. rat′ting; pa.p. and pa.t. rat′ted
    • ***


  • Richard D. Rosen
    Richard D. Rosen
    “If we ever do end up acting just like rats or Pavlov's dogs, it will be largely because behaviorism has conditioned us to do so.”
  • Winston Churchill
    “It is all right to rat, but you can't re-rat.”
  • Elizabeth Bowen
    “Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.”
  • Harry Emerson Fosdick
    “Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.”
  • Ida B. Wells
    Ida B. Wells
    “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
  • Lily Tomlin
    “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat.”


Rat race - The rat race is the ruthless, competitive struggle for success in work, etc.
Smell a rat - If you smell a rat, you know instinctively that something is wrong or that someone is lying to you.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. ræt,; akin to D. rat, OHG. rato, ratta, G. ratte, ratze, OLG. ratta, LG. & Dan. rotte, Sw. råtta, F. rat, Ir. & Gael radan, Armor. raz, of unknown origin. Cf. Raccoon


In literature:

It takes its name from the neighboring mountain around the base of which winds the swift Rat River.
"The Daughter of a Magnate" by Frank H. Spearman
To escape meeting old dog Spot, Grumpy Weasel had crawled into the old rat hole.
"The Tale of Grumpy Weasel" by Arthur Scott Bailey
They are terrible nuisances, and yet rat-skins are said to be manufactured in Paris into gloves.
"Heads and Tales" by Various
The friendly rat had again appeared, and he sprang up, backed away, and sat down again, trembling violently.
"The Grain Ship" by Morgan Robertson
She was thinking about Deborah, and wondering if she had caught any rats.
"Clematis" by Bertha B. Cobb
The next winter Clark and I: for we were alone again, went to New Windsor and trapped Rat on Storms Lake.
"Black Beaver" by James Campbell Lewis
These rats are no different than the rats of five thousand years ago.
"The Rat Racket" by David Henry Keller
Appearance of the two rat-like teeth as seen when the end of the lower jaw is viewed from above.
"More Science From an Easy Chair" by Sir E. Ray (Edwin Ray) Lankester
There are such lots of rats, some of them as big as you kittens.
"Pussy and Doggy Tales" by Edith Nesbit
Hundreds of them drowned like rats.
"Peter the Brazen" by George F. Worts

In poetry:

I wish a water rat would glide
Slowly to the other side;
Or a dancing spider sit
On the yellow flags a bit.
"On The Bridge" by Kate Greenaway
I search for men of yesterday
But all I find is frightened cats
Fearing for their souls
From the authority of rats
"We Are Accused Of Terrorism" by Nizar Qabbani
Then answer this, ye sages!
Nor deem I mean to wrong ye,
Had the rat, which thus did seize on
The Trap, less claim to reason,
Than many a skull among ye?
"The Rape of the Trap. A Ballad" by William Shenstone
But more of Trap and bait, Sir,
Why should I sing, or either?
Since the rat, who knew the sleight,
Came in the dead of night,
And dragg'd them away together.
"The Rape of the Trap. A Ballad" by William Shenstone
So the ruffian got safely in the great drum wheel,
Then Hanchen set on the engine, which made the ruffian reel;
And as he was whirled about, he screamed aloud,
And when Hanchen saw him like a rat in a trap, she felt very proud.
"Hanchen, the Maid of the Mill" by William Topaz McGonagall
"Shut your vile mouth, or, by the Lord! - "'Is 'and
Went up, an' there was anger on 'is face.
But Rat-face ducked. 'E weren't the man to stand
Agin that figger uv avengin' grace.
Ducked, or 'e might uv stopped one 'oly smite
Frum Snowy's right.
"'Ave a 'eart!" by C J Dennis

In news:

"You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching," Robert Darwin told his son, "and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.
Nestlé's Inspectors Saw Rat Droppings , Rejected Peanuts.
Darryl Droppings , "The Pied Piper of Flying Rats".
Rats, aphids and sunshine causing trouble for tree owners.
Out of Cranky's Labo-rat-ory-- Endlessly Rocking.
PCB exposure caused defects in rats similar to autism in humans, in a study at the University of California at San Francisco.
But unlike their rat brethren, squirrels are cute.
Rat population has ' exploded ' around Occupy DC camps.
With Fenway Park approaching its 100th birthday, Boston Red Sox players have always been aware of the presence of rats on the ancient premises.
My little donkeys play with my Rat Terriers all the time.
The way it usually works is, the rats and mice die first.
Clarabell is a 3-year-old rat terrier mix.
Galapagos Islands Try to Kill 180 Million Rats.
PACK RAT MINI-STORAGE, Kathy Tanner #F3, your unit has been seized for lack of payment.
Nothing's changed since Pack Rat Day back in May.

In science:

For each integer t ≥ 0, the ob ject LAt is isomorphic to ΣtP and the ob ject RAt is isomorphic to Σ−tP .
Almost complete cluster tilting objects in generalized higher cluster categories
Therefore, the (m+1)-Calabi-Yau triangulated category CΠ contains infinitely many m-cluster tilting ob jects, and the ob jects π(RAt ) and π(LAr ) do not satisfy the relations in Theorem 4.11 and Theorem 5.2 in the presence of loops.
Almost complete cluster tilting objects in generalized higher cluster categories
M )-approximation of Pi , and morphisms h(t+1) : P ′ t → RAt (1 ≤ t ≤ m) are minimal right (addA)-approximations of RAt with P ′ t in addM .
Almost complete cluster tilting objects in generalized higher cluster categories
This implies in particular that Dti ∼rat Di for i = 1, 2.
Algebraic cobordism theory attached to algebraic equivalence
From H/He flux ratios, as well as from Fe He/Li emission measure rat ios we deduce temperatures ranging from 0.5 to 6.1×107 K.
X-ray Line Emission from the Hot Stellar Wind of theta 1 Ori C