Definition of rat in English:

rat

noun

  • 1A rodent that resembles a large mouse, typically having a pointed snout and a long tail. Some kinds have become cosmopolitan and are sometimes responsible for transmitting diseases.

    • ‘In one study, researchers exposed laboratory rats to a toxin that is known to cause Parkinson's disease.’
    • ‘Adult male albino rats were housed in the controlled temperature and photoperiod.’
    • ‘Inside his Manhattan brownstone lurks something even more terrifying than his business associates: a giant sewer rat.’
    • ‘One rat's nest can turn into a colony of 50 rats in six months.’
    • ‘Control lung tissue was also obtained from adult male rats.’
    • ‘What's the difference between a water vole and a rat?’
    • ‘Cane rats should not be confused with domestic rodents such as rats and mice which can be disease-carrying vermin.’
    • ‘Most people are familiar with mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs, which are commonly kept as pets.’
    • ‘It turns out that mice and rats and some other rodents have hearing which looks very similar to ours.’
    • ‘Despite the situation, they're not lab rats in a cage; they're fellow human beings.’
    • ‘He notes that wild cats may have been drawn to settlements where grain stores attracted rats and mice.’
    • ‘Up until 1987 this kind of experiment had only done in rodents, rats and mice, and in lower organisms.’
    • ‘Wistar albino rats were divided into five groups.’
    • ‘One resident said she has seen rats scurrying out to snatch discarded pieces of bread in broad daylight.’
    • ‘Bodies start to smell like dead rats if you leave them in one place too long.’
    • ‘Luckily we didn't see any dead rats.’
    • ‘The number of genetic differences between humans and chimps is ten times smaller than that between mice and rats.’
    • ‘We used 18 male adult hooded rats that were maintained under the same conditions as those in Experiment 1.’
    • ‘Pigeons cooed from the rooftops of buildings, and rats scurried along the floor.’
    • ‘Admittedly some of the rodents that possess the ability, such as rats and mice, are almost completely nocturnal.’
  • 2informal A despicable person, especially a man who has been deceitful or disloyal.

    ‘her rat of a husband cheated on her’
    • ‘He then recognised the ship approaching them ‘I should've known that rat would be here.’’
    • ‘Pretty soon, the hooligans, graffiti artists, drug addicts, pushers - and rats - take over.’
    • ‘Most especially, every jerk bureaucrat and greedy welfare rat (particularly the rich ones) with a hand in the public till gets to vote.’
    • ‘How can you make a philandering love cheat, who works his way through a family of sisters, anything but a rogue and a rat?’
    • ‘The good news is that his adviser, that rat Fred Tough, has had to go with him.’
    • ‘Even Thatcher herself wouldn't have dreamed that the king rat builders would so effectively take over an entire country's development with no real opposition.’
    • ‘I spat at him, ‘I hope your wife finds out what a cheating, lying rat you really are and you get all that you deserve!’’
    • ‘He, who's a braggart and a drunk and a rat and a scoundrel, at his death bed, says, I find Christ.’
    • ‘Here was the building that housed the penthouse where Nick had lived, and where she'd met his street rat friend that actually caught her heart for a time.’
    • ‘We went back to the set and I watched the Falcon escape from bondage and alert the cops to where the crime boss and his rats were hiding out.’
    • ‘You know every rat, snitch and scoundrel on this island, and between them they know everything shady that transpires.’
    • ‘He was so unworthy, a lowly thief, a rat, unfit to breathe Her Majesty's air.’
    • ‘‘For your information this little rat insulted me’ Debbie huffed sticking her chin up snobbishly.’
    • ‘If you're out there you rat, I finally caught on and I want my money back.’
    • ‘She's doing it all for her own self pleasure, that rat!’
    • ‘Congratulations to Bob, you rat, despite not, building in A01 and NMRing three times.’
    scoundrel, wretch, rogue
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1An informer.
      ‘he became the most famous rat in mob history’
      • ‘Nadeau, as his name would indicate, has no love for informants and rejects the notion that he was a rat.’
      • ‘Mr. Ken told me that the rat was an informant for the enemy.’
      • ‘She may not be a barracks rat, but she's not too far off.’
      • ‘He was supposedly the rat who betrayed the Gibraltar Three, the Eksund gun runners and the IRA men assassinated at Loughgall.’
      • ‘I go by beeper now because there's too many rats [informants] on the street.’
      • ‘It's different when Right Wingers want to crush free speech and create a police state environment of informers and rats in a house of worship.’
      • ‘It is funny to see that the rats at various British intelligence agencies are already trying to avoid the blame for the lies told to the British people by Blair.’
      • ‘I would ask you again whether the killing of a rat is murder?’
      • ‘These rats do whistle an alarm, but we didn't hear it.’
  • 3North American informal [with modifier] A person who is associated with or frequents a specified place.

    ‘LA mall rats’
    • ‘Contrary to popular opinion, in general they are not just attracting low lifes, low-end demographic users, gym rats and the like.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we at least insist she sells some records like, this decade, before she gets any more coverage for her sex romp/love rat lifestyle?’
    • ‘The promo challenges non-gym rats to get in shape during a 30-day period.’
    • ‘Gym rats from the east to the west coast prefer tank tops because they allow for complete range of motion and allow gym buffs to admire their flexed muscles at all times.’
    • ‘That bum sitting on a heating grate, smelling like a wharf rat?’
    • ‘You had your hardcore kids, punks, and skate rats big on yelling and beer, skeptical of synths and Englishmen.’
    • ‘After spending a long, hard winter as a gym rat shut-in, you're probably hot to trot outdoors.’
    • ‘Too many effective leaders have behaved badly in their love lives to make credible the claim that being a love rat is incompatible with being a good president.’
    • ‘I believe in spirits - I think we all do - and I don't think this woman who lived in this house was too happy when skate rats all showed up to ride her pool.’
    • ‘Then or course there's the biggest closet rat of all, me.’
    • ‘I'm a 46-year-old Ohio river rat who's gone there half a dozen times to mountain bike and ski.’
    • ‘Mali, while seeming sophisticated, wanders in and out of ghetto rat behavior, especially when it comes to her man, Tad Honeywell.’
    • ‘Some eighteen year old street rat from Paris, France… I wanted him so badly in my world of glitz and glamour… what am I saying?’
    • ‘There's nowhere else I'd rather be right now - on a trip in South Africa with a good crew and having fun, skating everyday, and doing a real skate rat tour.’
    • ‘At the first, it was decided to axe three popular characters - love rat doctor Matt Ramsden, his teacher wife Charlie, and shopworker Bobbi Lewis.’
    • ‘Cardboard cutouts of the love rat MP are proliferating.’
    • ‘I'm the one who always has to get out front and say ‘no’, and explain, and be the lousy wharf rat because they think I'm running a fraud.’
    • ‘The strike taught these wharf rats about power - that working people could get it, and wield it with devastating effect, if they understood that the world depended on them.’
    • ‘Peralta ripping in back of Mar Vista Elementary School - the first playground he was officially kicked out of as a young skate rat.’
    • ‘And the bag boys all seem to be happy, happy surf rats, with funny haircuts and pretty smiles.’
    • ‘He fought a handful of amateur and charity fights, earning him some credit as a middle-aged gym rat.’
    • ‘Rhyming, however, is the favourite sound effect of slang, as in boob tube television, frat rat member of a US college fraternity.’
    • ‘THERE ARE DOZENS OF dilemmas facing the average gym rat every time he steps foot in the weight room.’
  • 4US A pad used to give shape and fullness to a woman's hair.

exclamation

informal
  • Used to express mild annoyance or irritation.

    • ‘I just came upstairs to check the price of something on eBay (under $10, rats!) and saw the clock.’
    • ‘Divisions were actually for sale at Behnke, a nursery local to me and I didn't know it - rats!’
    damn, damnation, blast, hell, heck, gordon bennett
    bother
    drat, sugar, botheration, flip, flipping heck, flipping hell
    dash, blooming heck, blooming hell, blinking heck, blinking hell
    doggone it, shucks, shoot, tarnation
    arré
    confound it, pish
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Hunt or kill rats.

    ‘ratting is second nature to a Jack Russell’
    • ‘We reckon the dog might be a bit handy at ratting or hare coursing.’
    • ‘The Shar Pei still exhibits these herding and ratting instincts.’
    • ‘The dog is immensely pleased with herself; she is heavily pregnant and ratting was evidently a highly desirable break in just sitting in a corner of the kitchen day after day inflating and waiting for the puppies.’
    • ‘The Border is a hunter, earth dog, show dog and obedience dog, a whiz at agility trials, ratting in the barns and tracking.’
    • ‘In another era, perhaps he and his mates would simply have gone out poaching or ratting, grumbling about bloody women along the way.’
    • ‘The Giant Schnauzer's original job was ratting.’
  • 2informal Desert one's party, side, or cause.

    ‘many of the clans rallied to his support, others ratted and joined the King's forces’
    • ‘Talk of Bob Sercombe ratting is just that, his self-preservation demands him staying where he is.’
    • ‘Yeah, I'll bet she's just the type to rat, eh, Eddie?’
    • ‘The Stability Pact was to have kept the currency health, but it became inconvenient for France, which ratted, followed by Germany, France, Italy, Holland, and Greece.’
    • ‘Ratting on your mates is regarded as a sin in Australia, but if your mates have done the wrong thing and the ratting merely comprises a truthful public disclosure of some relevant information, then it should be encouraged.’
    • ‘Shortly afterwards, getting into his car, he was called by name and, when he turned, was shot through the forehead by a fellow extremist who suspected he had ratted.’
    • ‘The other men don't shoot the soldier who ratted, however.’
    • ‘Anna hit me in the arm a little mad that I had ratted so easily.’
    • ‘And it's equally unsurprising that he would deny it when one of those Liberal insiders ratted and went public.’
    • ‘He always said that he wouldn't tell on me but he always ended up ratting.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, after republicans ratted and robbed and killed and the two governments failed to punish them with more than the odd ‘tut, tut’ unionists decided they'd been sold a pup.’
    • ‘That's especially true if the White House really did call six or more reporters with this leak, since that means that if the names come out there's no way of knowing which reporter ratted.’
    • ‘Here's an interesting one about sneaky civil servants using their access to databases to rat to the press on Lotto winners.’
  • 3US [with object] Shape (hair) with a rat.

    • ‘All he knew was the sad grey eyes of the man, and his long ratted graying hair.’
    • ‘Why does a girl like Gwynie have to go and rat up her hair like that?’
    • ‘There was Stacey in her big girl bra, ratted out hair and adult acne.’
    • ‘She's got long black hair, ratted and dry, and it hangs down over her shoulders like a fern that hasn't been watered in weeks.’
    • ‘Her ponytail was ratted and her bangs were sticking up all over while her braids were perfectly fine as they always were.’

Phrases

  • like a rat up a drainpipe

    • informal Very quickly or eagerly.

      ‘I shot up the ladder like a rat up a drainpipe’
      • ‘If it had been a victory, Craig would have been in there like a rat up a drainpipe to make sure he got full credit and lots of pictures in the local paper.’
      • ‘If these proposed "innovations" are so marvellous, why aren't private investors piling into them like a rat up a drainpipe!?’
      • ‘If he sells the bank, which he has said he will do, then she will be on to him like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘Give him an opening and he's in there, like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘If the technology is truly feasible and saves money as they say it does, then the private market will be into it like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘She was like a rat up a drainpipe in her haste to get to Upper Harbour.’
      • ‘I can't help thinking if her children were bullied, she would be in the head's office like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘He ran away like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘The Australian Competition Consumer Commission will be on to monkey business concerning any price-gouging like a rat up a drainpipe.’
      • ‘Every time the door is opened, a woman snaps in front of us like a rat up a pipe.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • rat on

    • 1Inform on (someone)

      ‘he refused to rat on his buddies’
      • ‘He believes (correctly, as it turns out) that a fellow officer has been ratting him out to the precinct's captain.’
      • ‘‘I don't think you should rat her out, but let her know you saw her cheating and that it could get her in a lot of trouble,’ suggests Lindsay.’
      • ‘I like her and she lets me get out of class when I need to without ratting me out.’
      • ‘It would perhaps be different if the only two alternatives were ratting him out or deceiving her employer.’
      • ‘‘Thanks,’ I said once we were out of the office, ‘for not ratting me out.’’
      • ‘Words and titles are about to become very important as people figure out which one of Cheney's goons ratted her out.’
      • ‘I hadn't planned on ratting Ryan out anyway, but his response had taken me by surprise.’
      • ‘Christy was going to pay dearly for ratting her out.’
      • ‘You ever considered ratting her out to your parents?’
      • ‘The last thing that I need is Zach ratting me out to my parents.’
      inform against, inform on, betray, be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, break one's promise to, break faith with, sell out, stab someone in the back
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Break (an agreement or promise)
        ‘he accused the government of ratting on an earlier pledge’
        • ‘The press have also ratted on virtually every ‘deal’ they've ever entered into concerning a bit of privacy for William and Harry.’
        • ‘Allies of the Chancellor accused Downing Street of ratting on a deal struck between the two men to maintain a united front when dealing with Britain's pensions time bomb.’
        • ‘It is about the government ratting on an undertaking.’
        • ‘President George Bush has ratted on the US commitment to reduce the pollution that is causing climate chaos across the globe.’
        • ‘If we believe Gordon's account, as relayed through Robert Peston, Blair ratted on a promise to go by November of last year.’
        • ‘Mind you, I had to do a bit of fast footwork to get the Foreign Office to rat on that fisheries deal that Jack Straw had done with Alex Salmond.’
        • ‘Whatever the cause, France ratted on his agreement, retaking Brest by force.’
        • ‘He ratted on his promise to take me with him - saying that there would be questions in the parliament if he spent too much money.’
        break, renege on, go back on, back out of, default on, welsh on
        View synonyms

Origin

Old English ræt, probably of Romance origin; reinforced in Middle English by Old French rat. The verb dates from the early 19th century.

Pronunciation:

rat

/rat/