from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various small rodents of the genus Neotoma of North and Central America that collect in or around their nests a great variety of small objects.
  • noun Western US A petty thief.
  • noun Informal A collector or accumulator of miscellaneous objects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of several small North American rodents, of the genus Neotoma, that have bushy tails
  • noun informal A scavenger


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  • Not just a figure of speech. . .if pack rats live near you, you might want to check their nests for your lost thimble, or forgeegaws.

    By the way, they are New World rats, unlike the Norway rat.

    June 30, 2007