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See more synonyms for mastodon on Thesaurus.com
  1. a massive, elephantlike mammal of the genus Mammut (Mastodon), that flourished worldwide from the Miocene through the Pleistocene epochs and, in North America, into recent times, having long, curved upper tusks and, in the male, short lower tusks.
  2. a person of immense size, power, influence, etc.
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Origin of mastodon

1805–15; < New Latin < Greek mast(ós) breast + odṓn tooth
Related formsmas·to·don·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for mastodon

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The Mastodon rocked to and fro on his huge feet, embarrassedly.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • "I had come up from the lower hills all one day," said the Mastodon.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • All the Indians in the group that had gathered about the Mastodon, nodded at this.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Its staff was mastodon ivory, the paleontologists had determined.

    Zero Data

    Charles Saphro

  • No mastodon steak for them, Dolly; no nice wing-bone of ictiosaurus—they starved.

British Dictionary definitions for mastodon


  1. any extinct elephant-like proboscidean mammal of the genus Mammut (or Mastodon), common in Pliocene times
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Derived Formsmastodontic, adjective

Word Origin

C19: from New Latin, literally: breast-tooth, referring to the nipple-shaped projections on the teeth
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 mastodon


1813, from Modern Latin genus name Mastodon (1806), coined by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) from Greek mastos "breast" (see masto-) + -odon "tooth" (see tooth); so called from the nipple-like projections on the crowns of the extinct mammal's fossil molars. Related: Mastodontic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mastodon in Science


  1. Any of several extinct mammals of the genus Mastodon (or Mammut). Mastodons resembled elephants and mammoths except that their molar teeth had conelike cusps rather than parallel ridges for grinding. Like elephants, mastodons had a pair of long, curved tusks growing from their upper jaw, but males also sometimes had a second pair from the lower jaw. Like mammoths, mastodons were covered with hair. They lived from the Oligocene Epoch to the end of the Ice Age.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.