(1)   Any rod-shaped bacterium
(2)   A gangster's pistol
(3)   A long thin implement made of metal or wood
(4)   Visual receptor cell sensitive to dim light
(5)   A square rod of land
(6)   A linear measure of 16.5 feet


  1. A straight, round stick, shaft, bar, cane, or staff.
    The circus strong man proved his strength by bending an iron rod, and then straightening it.
  2. A long slender usually tapering pole used for angling; fishing rod.
    When I hooked a snake and not a fish, I got so scared I dropped my rod in the water.
  3. A stick, pole, or bundle of switches or twigs (such as a birch), used for personal defense or to administer corporal punishment by whipping.
  4. An implement resembling and/or supplanting a rod (particularly a cane) that is used for corporal punishment, and metonymically called the rod, regardless of its actual shape and composition.
    • The judge imposed on the thief a sentence of fifteen strokes with the rod.
  5. A stick used to measure distance, by using its established length or task-specific temporary marks along its length, or by dint of specific graduated marks.
    • I notched a rod and used it to measure the length of rope to cut.
  6. A unit of length. Equal to a pole, a perch, ¼ chain, 5½ yards, 16½ feet, or exactly 5.0292 meters.
    1865 Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod,+Henry+David:+Cape+Cod,+1865&query=+rods+long&id=ThoCape
    • In one of the villages I saw the next summer a cow tethered by a rope six rods long [...]
  7. An implement held vertically and viewed through an optical surveying instrument such as a transit, used to measure distance in land surveying and construction layout; an engineer's rod, surveyor's rod, leveling rod, ranging rod. The modern engineer's or surveyor's rod commonly is eight or ten feet long and often designed to extend higher. In former times a surveyor's rod often was a single wooden pole or composed of multiple sectioned and socketed pieces, and besides serving as a sighting target was used to measure distance on the ground horizontally, hence for convenience was of one rod or pole in length, that is, 5½ yards.
  8. A unit of area equal to a square rod, 30¼ square yards or 1/160 acre.
    The house had a small yard of about six rods in size.
  9. A straight bar that unites moving parts of a machine, for holding parts together as a connecting rod or for transferring power as a drive-shaft.
    The engine threw a rod, and then went to pieces before our eyes, springs and coils shooting in all directions.
  10. Short for rod cell, a rod-shaped cell in the eye that is sensitive to light.
    The rods are more sensitive than the cones, but do not discern color.
  11. Any of a number of long, slender microorganisms.
    He applied a gram positive stain, looking for rods indicative of Listeria.
  12. A stirring rod: a glass rod, typically about 6 inches to 1 foot long and 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter that can be used to stir liquids in flasks or beakers.
  13. A pistol; a gun.
  14. A penis; the male rod.
  15. A hot rod, an automobile or other passenger motor vehicle modified to run faster and often with exterior cosmetic alterations, especially one based originally on a pre-1940s model or (currently) denoting any older vehicle thus modified.

See also

  • crook
  • divining rod, rod-shaped, rodman
  • spare the rod, spoil the child