[ fo-sawr-ee-uh l, -sohr- ]
/ fɒˈsɔr i əl, -ˈsoʊr- /

adjective Zoology.

digging or burrowing.
adapted for digging, as the hands, feet, and bone structure of moles, armadillos, and aardvarks.

Origin of fossorial

1830–40; < Late Latin fossōri(us) adapted to digging (equivalent to Latin fod(ere) to dig + tōrius -tory1, with dt > ss) + -al1

Related forms

sub·fos·so·ri·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fossorial

British Dictionary definitions for fossorial


/ (fɒˈsɔːrɪəl) /


(of the forelimbs and skeleton of burrowing animals) adapted for digging
(of burrowing animals, such as the mole and armadillo) having limbs of this type

Word Origin for fossorial

C19: from Medieval Latin fossōrius from Latin fossor digger, from fodere to dig
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