any of several mammals of the family Myrmecophagidae, having a long, tapered snout, extensile tongue, and powerful front claws and feeding chiefly on ants and termites.Compare giant anteater, silky anteater, tamandua.
the aardvark.
a pangolin.
an echidna.

Nearby words

  1. ante-,
  2. ante-christum,
  3. ante-mortem,
  4. ante-nicene,
  5. ante-post,
  6. antebellum,
  7. antecede,
  8. antecedence,
  9. antecedency,
  10. antecedent

Origin of anteater

First recorded in 1755–65; ant + eater Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for anteater



any toothless edentate mammal of the family Myrmecophagidae of Central and South America, esp Myrmecophaga tridactyla (or jubata) (giant anteater), having a long tubular snout used for eating termitesSee also tamandua
scaly anteater another name for pangolin
spiny anteater another name for echidna
banded anteater another name for numbat
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 anteater



also ant-eater, 1764, in reference to the South American species; 1868 of the Australian echidna; from ant + agent noun from eat (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper