Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


[mas-tuh-don] /ˈmæs təˌdɒn/
a massive, elephantlike mammal of the genus Mammut (Mastodon), that flourished worldwide from the Miocene through the Pleistocene epochs and, in North America, into recent times, having long, curved upper tusks and, in the male, short lower tusks.
a person of immense size, power, influence, etc.
Origin of mastodon
1805-15; < New Latin < Greek mast(ós) breast + odṓn tooth
Related forms
mastodonic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for mastodon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The mastodon rocked to and fro on his huge feet, embarrassedly.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • "I had come up from the lower hills all one day," said the mastodon.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • All the Indians in the group that had gathered about the mastodon, nodded at this.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Its staff was mastodon ivory, the paleontologists had determined.

    Zero Data Charles Saphro
  • No mastodon steak for them, Dolly; no nice wing-bone of ictiosaurus—they starved.

    The Trimming of Goosie James Hopper
  • The mastodon staggered, then regained his stride and went rushing on.

    Project Mastodon Clifford Donald Simak
  • Forepaugh had a mastodon up his sleeve for everybody else's elephant.


    Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • A good deal of interest is connected with the finding of one mastodon's tooth.

    The Prehistoric World E. A. Allen
  • She says they were only made for scenery—like the rhinoceros and the mastodon.

British Dictionary definitions for mastodon


any extinct elephant-like proboscidean mammal of the genus Mammut (or Mastodon), common in Pliocene times
Derived Forms
mastodontic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, literally: breast-tooth, referring to the nipple-shaped projections on the teeth
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mastodon

1813, from Modern Latin genus name Mastodon (1806), coined by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) from Greek mastos "breast" (see masto-) + -odon "tooth" (see tooth); so called from the nipple-like projections on the crowns of the extinct mammal's fossil molars. Related: Mastodontic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
mastodon in Science
Any of several extinct mammals of the genus Mastodon (or Mammut). Mastodons resembled elephants and mammoths except that their molar teeth had conelike cusps rather than parallel ridges for grinding. Like elephants, mastodons had a pair of long, curved tusks growing from their upper jaw, but males also sometimes had a second pair from the lower jaw. Like mammoths, mastodons were covered with hair. They lived from the Oligocene Epoch to the end of the Ice Age.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for mastodon

Word Value for mastodon

Scrabble Words With Friends