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  1. any of various burrowing, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, as Taxidea taxus, of North America, and Meles meles, of Europe and Asia.
  2. the fur of this mammal.
  3. Australian.
    1. a wombat.
    2. bandicoot(def 2).
  4. (initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of Wisconsin (the Badger State) (used as a nickname).
  5. a swablike device for cleaning excess mortar from the interiors of newly laid tile drains.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to harass or urge persistently; pester; nag: I had to badger him into coming with us.
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Origin of badger

1515–25; variant of badgeard, perhaps badge + -ard, in allusion to white mark or badge on head
Related formsun·badg·ered, adjectiveun·badg·er·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for badger

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • When the boy had gone Faust came forth from his hiding like a badger.


    W. A. Fraser

  • So they played the game of "Badger in the Bag," kicking it around the hall.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • It would surprise you to know how many of them badger and threaten us.

  • One of the horses lunged forward, stumbling in a badger hole.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • You've got a face like a child, and yet you're as grey as a badger.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

British Dictionary definitions for badger


  1. any of various stocky omnivorous musteline mammals of the subfamily Melinae, such as Meles meles (Eurasian badger), occurring in Europe, Asia, and North America: order Carnivora (carnivores). They are typically large burrowing animals, with strong claws and a thick coat striped black and white on the headCompare ferret badger, hog badger
  2. honey badger another name for ratel
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  1. (tr) to pester or harass
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Word Origin

C16: variant of badgeard, probably from badge (from the white mark on its forehead) + -ard
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 badger


1520s, perhaps from bage "badge" (see badge) + -ard "one who carries some action or possesses some quality," suffix related to Middle High German -hart "bold" (see -ard). If so, the central notion is the badge-like white blaze on the animal's forehead (cf. French blaireau "badger," from Old French blarel, from bler "marked with a white spot;" also obsolete Middle English bauson "badger," from Old French bauzan, literally "black-and-white spotted"). But blaze (n.2) was the usual word for this.

An Old English name for the creature was the Celtic borrowing brock; also græg (Middle English grei, grey). In American English, the nickname of inhabitants or natives of Wisconsin (1833).

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1790, from badger (n.), based on the behavior of the dogs in the medieval sport of badger-baiting, still practiced in 18c. England. Related: Badgered; badgering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper