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[fo-sawr-ee-uh l, -sohr-]
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adjective Zoology.
  1. digging or burrowing.
  2. adapted for digging, as the hands, feet, and bone structure of moles, armadillos, and aardvarks.

Origin of fossorial

1830–40; < Late Latin fossōri(us) adapted to digging (equivalent to Latin fod(ere) to dig + tōrius -tory1, with dt > ss) + -al1
Related formssub·fos·so·ri·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fossorial

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for fossorial


  1. (of the forelimbs and skeleton of burrowing animals) adapted for digging
  2. (of burrowing animals, such as the mole and armadillo) having limbs of this type

Word Origin

C19: from Medieval Latin fossōrius from Latin fossor digger, from fodere to dig
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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