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armadillo

[ahr-muh-dil-oh]
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noun, plural ar·ma·dil·los.
  1. any of several burrowing, chiefly nocturnal mammals constituting the family Dasypodidae, ranging from the southern U.S. through South America, having strong claws and a jointed protective covering of bony plates: used in certain areas for food.
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Origin of armadillo

1570–80; < Spanish, equivalent to armad(o) armed (< Latin armātus; see arm2, -ate1) + -illo < Latin -illus diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

sloth, aardvark, armadillo, anteater

Examples from the Web for armadillo

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is a curious fact that mosquitoes often inhabit the burrows of the armadillo.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • When he finds no mosquitoes, he is sure there is no armadillo.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • The monkey, the goat, and the armadillo have all failed to give satisfaction.

    Fairy Tales from Brazil

    Elsie Spicer Eells

  • The armadillo had not heard of any danger, but he replied that it had passed.

    Fairy Tales from Brazil

    Elsie Spicer Eells

  • "Let the one who got you in there help you out," replied the armadillo as he went on his way.

    Fairy Tales from Brazil

    Elsie Spicer Eells


British Dictionary definitions for armadillo

armadillo

noun plural -los
  1. any edentate mammal of the family Dasypodidae of Central and South America and S North America, such as Priodontes giganteus (giant armadillo). They are burrowing animals, with peglike rootless teeth and a covering of strong horny plates over most of the body
  2. fairy armadillo another name for pichiciego
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Word Origin

C16: from Spanish, diminutive of armado armed (man), from Latin armātus armed; compare armada
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 armadillo

n.

1570s, from Spanish armadillo, diminutive of armado "armored," from Latin armatus, past participle of armare "to arm" (see arm (n.2)). So called for its hard, plated shell.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper