1. (in certain animals) a tooth developed to great length, usually one of a pair, as in the elephant, walrus, and wild boar, but singly in the narwhal.
  2. a long, pointed, or protruding tooth.
  3. a projection resembling the tusk of an animal.
  4. Also called gain. Carpentry. a diagonally cut shoulder at the end of a timber for strengthening a tenon.
verb (used with object)
  1. to dig up or tear off with the tusks.
  2. to gore with a tusk.
verb (used without object)
  1. to dig up or thrust at the ground with the tusks.

Origin of tusk

before 900; Middle English, metathetic variant of tux, Old English, variant of tusc tush2; cognate with Old Frisian tusk; akin to tooth
Related formstusk·less, adjectivetusk·like, adjectiveun·tusked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tuskless

Historical Examples of tuskless

  • When the tusks get broken—a not uncommon thing—he must remain toothless or “tuskless” for the rest of his life.

    The Bush Boys

    Captain Mayne Reid

  • He sat behind his desk like a tuskless sea lion crouched behind a rock, and his cheeks merged into jowls and obliterated his neck.


    Algirdas Jonas Budrys

  • A cock without spurs has the same name as a tuskless elephant,—makhna.

    Beast and Man in India

    John Lockwood Kipling

  • We now know the complete series of steps connecting elephants with ordinary trunkless, tuskless mammals.

    More Science From an Easy Chair

    Sir E. Ray (Edwin Ray) Lankester

British Dictionary definitions for tuskless


  1. a pointed elongated usually paired tooth in the elephant, walrus, and certain other mammals that is often used for fighting
  2. the canine tooth of certain animals, esp horses
  3. a sharp pointed projection
  4. Also called: tusk tenon building trades a tenon shaped with an additional oblique shoulder to make a stronger joint
  1. to stab, tear, or gore with the tusks
Derived Formstusked, adjectivetusklike, adjective

Word Origin for tusk

Old English tūsc; related to Old Frisian tosk; see tooth
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 tuskless



Old English tux, tusc, cognate with Old Frisian tusk, probably from Proto-Germanic *tunthskaz (cf. Gothic tunþus "tooth"), extended form of the root of tooth. But there are no certain cognates outside Anglo-Frisian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tuskless in Science


  1. A long, pointed tooth, usually one of a pair, projecting from the mouth of certain animals, such as elephants, walruses, and wild pigs. Tusks are used for procuring food and as weapons.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.