Definition of rod in US English:



  • 1A thin straight bar, especially of wood or metal.

    • ‘I then welded a 1-inch piece of solid rod to the metal.’
    • ‘Set against a blue background, the butterflies are connected to rods and wires that move their wings and simulate flight.’
    • ‘The stair is elegantly made, a light filigree of steel rod and plates that contrasts with the heavy mass concrete solidity of the vault.’
    • ‘The multidisciplinary, cross-curriculum workshops enable all those who take part to build spectacular structures with the simplest of materials: thin wooden rods and rubber bands.’
    • ‘There's also a table with three skinny legs and a lidded jar with a thick, straight, vertical handle that rises up like the rod of a butter churn.’
    • ‘In the living room, a chainmail curtain hung from a metal rod is a fireguard for the aluminium clad fireplace.’
    • ‘The masonry units require steel post tension rods, anchor bolts, steel plates, and couplers for installation.’
    • ‘Here, three metal rods ran across a corner of the gallery, each supporting a large pulley wheel and a piece of canvas strap’
    • ‘Balusters were made of 90 mm steel rods cast into holes drilled into the rock and connected by steel plates.’
    • ‘Four ‘Freefall Image’ sculptures were made of connected bronze rods with mottled surfaces and polished highlights.’
    • ‘The bright red fiberglass clasp, tilted at a 45-degree angle, rested on the floor; it connected to the wall by means of a thick steel rod.’
    • ‘Some untitled works from 1999 consist of a series of swags of satin, attached to curtain rods and installed on a wall.’
    • ‘The glass box is tethered to the brick walls with suspension rods, which reinforce the two separate structures, helping them to withstand extreme weather conditions and earthquakes.’
    • ‘Approximately half of the tubes are filled with thin steel rods, which radiate outward to varying lengths.’
    • ‘The white stucco ceiling undulates up to a peak of 22 ft; the walls fan out, and their pale ash panelling is overlaid by ribs of clustered birch rods.’
    • ‘Work stopped in 1970, leaving blocked arches in the incomplete north transept, only a few bays of the intended cloister, and reinforcement rods protruding vainly from the stump of the crossing tower.’
    • ‘These elegantly diminutive, finely wrought sculptures employ curved, flat and linear shapes that perch upon thin metal rods.’
    • ‘Both sculptures involve single plaster-walled cubes with open tops, out of which spiral successively smaller cubes made from metal rods.’
    • ‘The boulders themselves are kinetic sculptures; all but the heaviest rotates with the slightest touch, balanced atop a single stainless steel rod.’
    • ‘Made of cinderblocks reinforced by steel rods, the undulating light-gray walls stretch some 140 feet in length.’
    bar, stick, pole, baton, staff
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    1. 1.1 A wand or staff as a symbol of office, authority, or power.
      • ‘Chiron raises two fingers in the standard antique gesture of a teacher while holding a rod in his other hand.’
      • ‘There were also numerous pictures of Cadere, youthful and earnest, a modern shaman with rod in hand.’
      • ‘She's all about the discipline of the rod and the power of a dollar.’
      staff, wand, mace, sceptre
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    2. 1.2 A slender straight stick or shoot growing on or cut from a tree or bush.
    3. 1.3 A stick used for caning or flogging.
      • ‘I say relatively, because all too frequently you've broken the very rules you vow to uphold, particularly through your selective choice and editing of sequences of material which you then employ as a rod with which to beat us, and others.’
    4. 1.4the rod The use of a stick as punishment.
      ‘if you'd been my daughter, you'd have felt the rod’
      corporal punishment, the cane, the lash, the birch, the belt, the strap
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    5. 1.5vulgar slang A penis.
  • 2A fishing rod.

    • ‘I quickly followed, setting up my 10 ft 6in cane float rod with a centre pin reel.’
    • ‘I find a 12 ft rod with a fast taper and 2.75 lb test curve just right.’
    • ‘I therefore normally use a soft action float rod with a reel loaded with about 3lb b.s. line.’
    • ‘I come to the river rod in hand, neither saint nor renegade.’
    • ‘Over the past fifty years I have used dozens of fly fishing rods.’
    • ‘He is shown with a huge carp and a rod for fishing.’
    • ‘Sorry, but you have to leave the fly fishing rods at home.’
  • 3British historical A linear measure, especially for land, equal to 51/2 yards (approximately 5.029 m).

    • ‘A few rods further on the field dipped into a low area and I went through a small patch of green smartweed.’
    • ‘Nineteen gallons of water is required to fill the tank after traveling 40 rods.’
    1. 3.1 A square measure, especially for land, equal to 160th of an acre or 301/4 square yards (approximately 25.29 sq m).
      • ‘Third, the city's offer of twenty guilders per rod was only half what the land would be worth once the tapestry pand brought more business to the area.’
  • 4US informal A pistol or revolver.

  • 5Anatomy
    A light-sensitive cell of one of the two types present in large numbers in the retina of the eye, responsible mainly for monochrome vision in poor light.

    Compare with cone (sense 3 of the noun)
    • ‘Be warned, if you sit too close to the screen, the TV may do permanent damage to your rods and cones.’
    • ‘Messing with our rods and cones, Downing's saturated dots stick around perceptually in afterimages.’


  • spare the rod and spoil the child

    • proverb If children are not physically punished when they do wrong their personal development will suffer.

      • ‘On Education Watch I note an argument in favour of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’’
      • ‘Writing in a pre-indulgent age when ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ was a cherished maxim of proper parenting, she stated firmly that ‘… children should be provided with proper tools.’’
      • ‘I am of 1920s vintage and in those days it was spare the rod and spoil the child and children should be seen and not heard.’
      • ‘He has evidence that ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ is still right for some kids today.’
      • ‘You see, being traditional Chinese, my parents believed in the notion ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.’
      • ‘If one partner believes in the old adage ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ while the other parent prefers to reason with children when they misbehave there is likely to be conflict.’
      • ‘He was a man of his time, when the philosophy was ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ - very different from today.’
  • rule someone or something with a rod of iron

    • Control or govern someone or something very strictly or harshly.

      • ‘His job is to strike down the nations, ruling them with a rod of iron.’
      • ‘The prosecution claims that he was a father of very strong tradition who ruled his home with a rod of iron.’
      • ‘What was not spelt out, was the importance of another Scots tradition, the ‘dominie’, or head teacher, who formed the ethos of the school and usually ruled it with a rod of iron.’
      • ‘For now, the man who has ruled the country with a rod of iron for more than three decades can sleep relatively soundly.’
      • ‘As the hospital counterpart of the mistress of the household, she might rule her own domain with a rod of iron, but always deferred to father.’
      • ‘He led the country to its independence from France in 1960 and then ruled the country with a rod of iron until his death in 1993.’
      • ‘I learned through gossip that she ruled her family with a rod of iron and she controlled the purse strings to her fortune.’
      • ‘A good overcoat roller in a company need never thirst, in fact he could, if he liked, rule his comrades with a rod of iron.’
      • ‘Smith ruled his men with a rod of iron, and as long as he was alive Hepple was safe.’
      • ‘She thought it was pathetic; he was already ruling the class with a rod of iron.’


Late Old English rodd ‘slender shoot growing on or cut from a tree’, also ‘straight stick or bundle of twigs used to inflict punishment’; probably related to Old Norse rudda ‘club’.