ar·ma·dil·lo | \ˌär-mə-ˈdi-(ˌ)lō \
plural armadillos

Definition of armadillo 

: any of a family (Dasypodidae) of burrowing edentate mammals found from the southern U.S. to Argentina and having the body and head encased in an armor of small bony plates

Illustration of armadillo

Illustration of armadillo

Examples of armadillo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There were massive mammoths three times bigger than modern-day elephants, giant ground sloths up to 20 feet in length, and strange, armadillo-like beasts known as glyptodons that were roughly the size of a VW bus. Deborah Netburn,, "The more humans spread, the smaller other mammals get. Elephants, rhinos and hippos had better watch out," 20 Apr. 2018 The armadillos were easy, but the ants required a bit of work. John Gray Singer, New York Times, "Gay Talese’s Ants," 10 June 2018 In the past, the only way researchers could get enough M. leprae for genetic studies was to infect mice and armadillos in lab—then wait a year. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Berserk leprosy bacteria are wildly mutating to become extremely drug resistant," 29 Jan. 2018 Alligator snapping turtles will eat just about anything, according to scientists: birds, mollusks, armadillos, opossums, fish and other turtles. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Missing a finger? This man just found one — inside a snapping turtle, Louisiana cops say," 13 June 2018 Fuentes creates sculptures of armadillos, giraffes, cats, coyotes and other animals using simple hand tools and a piece of wood. Courant Community, "Community News For The East Hartford Edition," 17 Apr. 2018 Phoebe Smith, a seventh grader at Northley Middle School in Aston, finished in 11th place after misspelling cabalassou, which Merriam-Webster defines as a giant armadillo. Robert Moran,, "Girls from Cherry Hill, Aston fall short in final round of National Spelling Bee," 31 May 2018 Extinct species of large-bodied armadillos probably made many of the smaller burrows. National Geographic, "6 Amazing Structures Built by Surprising Creatures," 7 May 2018 Our little native ant eater, the armadillo can be enough of a problem. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "The 4 Best Fire Ant Removal Methods, Plus Some You Should Never Try," 26 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'armadillo.' 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 armadillo

1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for armadillo

Spanish, from diminutive of armado armed one, from Latin armatus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about armadillo

Statistics for armadillo

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for armadillo

The first known use of armadillo was in 1577

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for armadillo



English Language Learners Definition of armadillo

: a small American animal that lives underground and whose head and body are protected by a hard shell


ar·ma·dil·lo | \ˌär-mə-ˈdi-lō \
plural armadillos

Kids Definition of armadillo

: a small burrowing animal found from Texas to Argentina that has the head and body protected by small bony plates

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on armadillo

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


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!