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[rab-it] /ˈræb ɪt/

noun, plural rabbits (especially collectively) rabbit for 1–3.
any of several soft-furred, large-eared, rodentlike burrowing mammals of the family Leporidae, allied with the hares and pikas in the order Lagomorpha, having a divided upper lip and long hind legs, usually smaller than the hares and mainly distinguished from them by bearing blind and furless young in nests rather than fully developed young in the open.
any of various small hares.
the fur of a rabbit or hare, often processed to imitate another fur.
a runner in a distance race whose goal is chiefly to set a fast pace, either to exhaust a particular rival so that a teammate can win or to help another entrant break a record; pacesetter.
British Informal. a person who is poor at sports, especially golf, tennis, or cricket.
pull a rabbit out of the hat, to find or obtain a sudden solution to a problem:
Unless somebody pulls a rabbit out of the hat by next week, we’ll be bankrupt.
noun (pl) -bits, -bit
any of various common gregarious burrowing leporid mammals, esp Oryctolagus cuniculus of Europe and North Africa and the cottontail of America. They are closely related and similar to hares but are smaller and have shorter ears
the fur of such an animal
(Brit, informal) a novice or poor performer at a game or sport
(intransitive) to hunt or shoot rabbits
(intransitive; often foll by on or away) (Brit, informal) to talk inconsequentially; chatter

late 14c., “young of the coney,” from French dialect (cf. Walloon robète), diminutive of Flemish or Middle Dutch robbe “rabbit,” of unknown origin. “A Germanic noun with a French suffix” [Liberman]. The adult was a coney (q.v.) until 18c.

Zoologically speaking, there are no native rabbits in the United States; they are all hares. But the early colonists, for some unknown reason, dropped the word hare out of their vocabulary, and it is rarely heard in American speech to this day. When it appears it is almost always applied to the so-called Belgian hare, which, curiously enough, is not a hare at all, but a true rabbit. [Mencken, “The American Language”]

Rabbit punch “chop on the back of the neck” so called from resemblance to a gamekeeper’s method of dispatching an injured rabbit. Pulling rabbits from a hat as a conjurer’s trick recorded by 1843. Rabbit’s foot “good luck charm” first attested 1879, in U.S. Southern black culture. Earlier references are to its use as a tool to apply cosmetic powders.

[N]ear one of them was the dressing-room of the principal danseuse of the establishment, who was at the time of the rising of the curtain consulting a mirror in regard to the effect produced by the application of a rouge-laden rabbit’s foot to her cheeks, and whose toilet we must remark, passim, was not entirely completed. [“New York Musical Review and Gazette,” Nov. 29, 1856]

Rabbit ears “dipole television antenna” is from 1950. Grose’s 1788 “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” has “RABBIT CATCHER. A midwife.”


To run away fast; escape in a hurry; lam: The man who had rabbited was later identified (1887+)
see: pull (a rabbit) out of a hat


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