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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (March 30, 2009)

You Dirty Rat!

If you've ever watched old movies on TV, you may have heard a character exclaim, "You dirty rat!" The word "rat" has a number of uses in English, none of them very flattering!

For example, "to rat on" someone is to tell someone in authority about another person's misdeeds. If you do that, someone might call you a "rat."

Another use is "to smell a rat," meaning that you suspect the other person has done something wrong.

Finally, because rats often run in mazes in scientific experiments we have the use "rat race, " which means to go mindlessly along without thinking, just like a rat in a maze!


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