WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
rat•hole  (rathōl′),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. a hole made by a rat, as into a room, barn, etc.:The first chore in the old building is to plug up the ratholes.
  2. the burrow or shelter of a rat.
  3. any small and uncomfortable room, office, apartment, etc., esp. one that is dirty or disordered:He lives in a rathole near the docks.
  4. down the rathole, for a worthless purpose or purposes:seeing your inheritance disappear down the rathole.
  • rat + hole 1805–15

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