- any of numerous small burrowing rodents of the genus Gerbillus and related genera, of Asia, Africa, and southern Russia, having long hind legs used for jumping.
- Also called tamarisk gerbil. a jird, Meriones unguiculatus, that is popular as a pet.
- any burrowing rodent of the subfamily Gerbillinae, inhabiting hot dry regions of Asia and Africa and having soft pale fur: family Cricetidae
1849, from French gerbille, from Modern Latin Gerbillus, the genus name, from gerbo, from Arabic yarbu. Earlier English form, jarbuah (1660s), was directly from Arabic.