any of the thick-skinned, nonruminant ungulates, as the elephant, hippopotamus, and rhinoceros.
an elephant.
a person who is not sensitive to criticism, ridicule, etc.; a thick-skinned person.

Origin of pachyderm

1830–40; < New Latin Pachyderma, assumed singular of Pachydermata (plural) obsolete order name < Greek pachý(s) thick + -dérmata, neuter plural of -dermatos -skinned, adj. derivative of dermat-, stem of dérma skin, derma1
Related formspach·y·der·mal, pach·y·der·mous, pach·y·der·mic, pach·y·der·moid, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pachyderm

mammoth, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, mastodon

Examples from the Web for pachyderm

Historical Examples of pachyderm

  • "It is a pachyderm—consequently, a relation of the pig," answered my friend.

  • She's a pachyderm and she's a pig; and, if she keeps on, she'll drag her husband to her level.

    The Brentons

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • It had not been a delicate negotiation, because Mrs. Cole-Mortimer had the skin of a pachyderm.

    The Angel of Terror

    Edgar Wallace

  • The words ought to have scorched him, pachyderm though he was.

    T. Tembarom

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • A little more of the pachyderm would help me in this respect.

British Dictionary definitions for pachyderm



any very large thick-skinned mammal, such as an elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus
Derived Formspachydermatous, adjective

Word Origin for pachyderm

C19: from French pachyderme, from Greek pakhudermos thick-skinned, from pakhus thick + derma skin
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 pachyderm

1838, from French pachyderme (c.1600), adopted as a biological term 1797 by French naturalist Georges Léopole Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron Cuvier (1769-1832), from Greek pachydermos "thick-skinned," from pachys "thick, large, massive," from PIE *bhengh- "thick, fat" (cf. Sanskrit bahu- "much, numerous" Avestan bazah- "height, depth," Hittite pankush "large," Old Norse bingr "heap," Old High German bungo "a bulb," Lithuanian biess "thick") + derma "skin" (see derma).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pachyderm in Science



Any of various large, thick-skinned mammals, such as the elephant, rhinoceros, or hippopotamus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.