any of a subfamily (Gerbillinae, family Cricetidae) of burrowing rodents, with long hind legs and hairy tail, native to Africa and Asia: often kept as a pet
Origin of gerbilFrench gerbille ; from Modern Latin gerbillus ; from gerbo, jerboa
- Any of various small, mouselike rodents of the genus Gerbillus and other genera of the subfamily Gerbillinae, having long hind legs and a long tail and inhabiting arid regions of Africa and Asia.
- A Mongolian jird (Meriones unguiculatus) of the subfamily Gerbillinae, commonly domesticated and kept as a pet.
Origin of gerbilFrench gerbille, from New Latin Gerbillus, genus name, from diminutive of gerbō, jerboa, variant of Medieval Latin jerbōa; see jerboa.
(third-person singular simple present gerbils, present participle gerbilling or gerbiling, simple past and past participle gerbilled or gerbiled)