April 09, 2016
rodent (noun)
\ROH-dunt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: any of an order of fairly small mammals (as mice, squirrels, or beavers) that have sharp front teeth used for gnawing
How do you use it?
The South American capybara, the world's largest rodent, reminds me of a giant guinea pig.
Are you a word wiz?

The word "rodent" has its root in one of the activities that these animals most enjoy. What do you think that is?

While some rodents enjoy digging, and others (like squirrels) are world-class climbers, what they all have in common is their need to gnaw, chew, or nibble away at something. The front teeth of rodents never stop growing, requiring the animals to gnaw hard substances that wear their teeth down so they don't grow too large. This characteristic activity gave rodents their name. The word "rodent" can be traced back to "rodere," the Latin verb that means "to gnaw."
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