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  1. 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.
  2. a person of immense size, power, influence, etc.

Origin of mastodon

1805–15; < New Latin < Greek mast(ós) breast + odṓn tooth
Related formsmas·to·don·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mastodonic

Historical Examples

  • He discards lumbering descriptions, antique melodramatics, set developments and dénouements, mastodonic structures.


    James Huneker

  • The diluvian soil of the Michigan Peninsula is thus added to the wide area of the mastodonic period.

  • The midget Lawyer looked up in Envy at his mastodonic Acquaintance and sighed.

    People You Know

    George Ade

  • Upon the mastodonic brow of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce there hangs an official laurel wreath.

    Abroad at Home</p>

    Julian Street

British Dictionary definitions for mastodonic


  1. any extinct elephant-like proboscidean mammal of the genus Mammut (or Mastodon), common in Pliocene times
Derived Formsmastodontic, 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

Word Origin and History for mastodonic



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

mastodonic in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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