[ tahr-di-greyd ]
/ ˈtɑr dɪˌgreɪd /


Also called bear animalcule, water bear. any microscopic, chiefly herbivorous invertebrate of the phylum Tardigrada, living in water, on mosses, lichens, etc.


belonging or pertaining to the phylum Tardigrada.
slow in pace or movement.

Nearby words

  1. tarbrush,
  2. tarde,
  3. tardenoisian,
  4. tardieu,
  5. tardieu, andré,
  6. tardive,
  7. tardive cyanosis,
  8. tardive dyskinesia,
  9. tardo,
  10. tardy

Origin of tardigrade

First recorded in 1615–25, tardigrade is from the Latin word tardigradus slow-paced. See tardy, -grade

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tardigrade


/ (ˈtɑːdɪˌɡreɪd) /


any minute aquatic segmented eight-legged invertebrate of the phylum Tardigrada, related to the arthropods, occurring in soil, ditches, etcPopular name: water bear


of, relating to, or belonging to the Tardigrada

Word Origin for tardigrade

C17: via Latin tardigradus, from tardus sluggish + gradī to walk

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

Science definitions for tardigrade


[ tärdĭ-grād′ ]

Any of various slow-moving, minute invertebrates of the phylum Tardigrada. Tardigrades have a head and four fused body segments, each of which has a pair of stubby legs ending in claws. They live in water, damp moss, flower petals, or sand, and are usually 1 mm (0.04 inches) or less in size. Tardigrades are able to resist extremely low temperature, pressure, and humidity, and go into dormant states for months or years. They are believed to be intermediate in evolutionary development between annelids and arthropods. Also called water bear
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.