Definition of river rat in English:

river rat


  • 1A rat or any of various other rodents living on or near rivers.

  • 2North American slang. A person engaging in criminal activities on a river; a river thief or river pirate. Now chiefly historical.

  • 3North American slang. A person who works lives or works on a river.

  • 4Specifically = river-driver. Compare river hog. Now rare.


Early 18th century; earliest use found in Aaron Hill (1685–1750), writer and entrepreneur. From river + rat.


river rat

/ˈrɪvə rat/