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rab·bit (răbĭt)
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n. pl. rab·bitsor rabbit
1. Any of various long-eared, short-tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Leporidae, such as the commonly domesticated species Oryctolagus cuniculus, native to Europe and widely introduced elsewhere, or the cottontail of the Americas.
2. A hare.
3. The flesh of a rabbit, used as food.
4. The fur of a rabbit or hare.
5. Sports
a. A competitor who is designated to set a fast pace for a teammate during a long-distance race.
b. A racehorse that is run at a fast pace early in a race in order to tire the favorite so that another horse can take the lead.
c. A mechanical decoy that is propelled around the track in a greyhound race to incite the dogs.
intr.v. rab·bit·ed, rab·bit·ing, rab·bits
To hunt rabbits or hares.

[Middle English rabet, rabbit kit, young rabbit, probably from Middle French *robotte, *rabotte (compare Modern French regional rabotte and Walloon robete, rabit) : Middle Dutch *robbe, rabbit (attested in early Modern Dutch robbe, perhaps akin to Middle Dutch robbe, seal, of unknown origin) + Middle French -otte, feminine of -ot, diminutive suffix (from Old French).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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