1. [syn: gerbil, gerbille]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gerbil \Ger"bil\ (j[~e]r"b[i^]l), Gerbille \Ger`bille"\
(zh[asl]r`b[-e]l"), n. [F. gerbille. Cf. Jerboa.]
1. (Zool.) One of several species of small, jumping, murine
burrowing rodents, of the genus Gerbillus and related
genera of the subfamily Gerbillinae. They have long soft
pale fur and hind legs adapted for leaping. In their
leaping powers they resemble the jerboa. They inhabit
Africa, India, and Southern Europe.
[1913 Webster + WordNet 1.5]
2. (Zool.) A rodent (Meriones unguiculatus) of the
subfamily Gerbillinae that is commonly kept as a pet; it
is also called the tamarisk gerbil, sand rat and
jird. Its natural habitats are the dry regions of
Northern Africa and Asia.