[ ahr-muh-dil-oh ]
/ ˌɑr məˈdɪl oʊ /

noun, plural ar·ma·dil·los.

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.

Nearby words

  1. arm-wrestle,
  2. arm.,
  3. armada,
  4. armada chest,
  5. armada, spanish,
  6. armageddon,
  7. armagh,
  8. armagnac,
  9. armalite,
  10. armament

Origin of armadillo

1570–80; < Spanish, equivalent to armad(o) armed (< Latin armātus; see arm2, -ate1) + -illo < Latin -illus diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for armadillo

British Dictionary definitions for armadillo


/ (ˌɑːməˈdɪləʊ) /

noun plural -los

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
fairy armadillo another name for pichiciego

Word Origin for armadillo

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



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper