aard·​vark | \ ˈärd-ˌvärk How to pronounce aardvark (audio) \

Definition of aardvark

: a large burrowing nocturnal mammal (Orycteropus afer) of sub-Saharan Africa that has a long snout, extensible tongue, powerful claws, large ears, and heavy tail and feeds especially on termites and ants

Illustration of aardvark

Illustration of aardvark

Examples of aardvark in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ali the aardvark gave birth to the 3-pound baby boy late in December. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Help the Cincinnati Zoo name its new baby aardvark," 1 Jan. 2018 Hippos and aardvarks also give milk without being anesthetized. Zoe Sayler, Smithsonian, "What Aardvark Milk Reveals about the Evolution of Lactation," 21 Mar. 2018 Not all afrotherians exhibit testicondy — aardvarks, for instance, have descending testicles. New York Times, "The Evolutionary Origin of Descending Testicles," 29 June 2018 Students will leave from the bootcamp Tuesday with reusable bags filled with aardvark paper straws to distribute to restaurants in their communities and hometowns to show residents sustainable alternatives to plastic straws. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "Students join 'Entourage' actor Adrian Grenier in environmentalism workshop," 4 June 2018 The unflappable Luke Skywalker, formerly a shimmering, golden Jedi, has become an aged, crotchety beard-o who drinks green sludge from the teat of a space aardvark. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Arts / Film May the fourth be with you, even if the Reader's critics rarely become one with the force," 4 May 2018 An aardvark is an odd African nocturnal mammal sometimes called an anteater. Michael Heaton, cleveland.com, "'Aardvark' is a strange beast of a movie (review)," 13 Apr. 2018 Shoaf goes back and forth between flashbacks of two boys at a zoo looking at an aardvark. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "A great cast, including Zachary Quinto and Jon Hamm, can't make 'Aardvark' a winner," 12 Apr. 2018 As for the aardvark motif, that remains as vague and peculiar as the rest of this uncertain journey. Gary Goldstein, latimes.com, "'Aardvark' is a sluggish, uncertain family drama," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aardvark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of aardvark

1822, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aardvark

borrowed from early Afrikaans aardvarken (modern erdvark), from aarde "earth" + vark "hog"; akin to Old English eorthe "earth" and to Old English fearh "young pig" — more at earth entry 1, farrow entry 1

Note: Current Afrikaans erdvark, as against early aardvarken, aardvark (with Afrikaans loss of the Dutch final syllable), reflects early competition in Afrikaans between standard Dutch aarde and the North/South Holland form erd(e) (with lengthened [e] or [ε]); as a simplex Afrikaans retains both with different senses: erd, "earth, clay," aarde "earth (the planet)."

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aardvark

Dictionary Entries near aardvark

A and R







Statistics for aardvark

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aardvark

The first known use of aardvark was in 1822

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aardvark



English Language Learners Definition of aardvark

: a large African animal that has a long nose and that eats ants and other insects


aard·​vark | \ ˈärd-ˌvärk How to pronounce aardvark (audio) \

Kids Definition of aardvark

: an African animal with a long snout and a long sticky tongue that feeds mostly on ants and termites and is active at night

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on aardvark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aardvark

Spanish Central: Translation of aardvark

Nglish: Translation of aardvark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aardvark for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aardvark

Comments on aardvark

What made you want to look up aardvark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!