Etymology
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gerbil (n.)

1849, gerbile, from French gerbille, from Modern Latin Gerbillus, the genus name, from gerbo, from Arabic yarbu. Earlier English form, jarbuah (1660s), was directly from Arabic.

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Definitions of gerbil

gerbil (n.)
small Old World burrowing desert rodent with long soft pale fur and hind legs adapted for leaping;
Synonyms: gerbille
From wordnet.princeton.edu