ar·​ma·​dil·​lo ˌär-mə-ˈdi-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce armadillo (audio)
plural armadillos
: 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 Screaming hairy armadillos, native to parts of South America, often weigh less than 2 pounds and are the tiniest of the three species of hairy armadillos, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Olivia Lloyd, Miami Herald, 20 May 2024 Inspired by baseball pennants, some have compared the ballpark’s design to the Sydney Opera House, while others likened the individual tiers to the scales of an armadillo. Jill Martin, CNN, 5 Apr. 2024 The property has walking trails and an onsite pond that draws songbirds, deer, and sometimes even armadillos. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2024 The transmission mechanism between zoonotic reservoirs and susceptible individuals is unknown, but it is strongly suspected that direct contact with an infected armadillo poses a significant risk of developing leprosy. Robert A. Schwartz, Discover Magazine, 18 Mar. 2024 Observed in sleeping infants in 1953, REM was soon identified in other mammals such as cats, mice, horses, sheep, opossums, and armadillos. Carolyn Wilke, Ars Technica, 2 Sep. 2023 The public health agency still cautions people to avoid armadillos when possible. Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald, 28 Mar. 2024 Eating armadillo meat is not a clear cause of leprosy, but capturing and raising armadillos, along with preparing its meat, are risk factors. Robert A. Schwartz, Discover Magazine, 18 Mar. 2024 An armadillo, an opossum and even a rattlesnake are expected to predict the weather this February. USA TODAY, 1 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'armadillo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Spanish, noun derivative, with -illo, diminutive suffix, of armado, past participle of armar "to arm," going back to Latin armāre — more at arm entry 2

First Known Use

1577, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of armadillo was in 1577

Dictionary Entries Near armadillo

Cite this Entry

“Armadillo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​ma·​dil·​lo ˌär-mə-ˈdil-ō How to pronounce armadillo (audio)
plural armadillos
: any of several small burrowing mammals of warm parts of the Americas whose head and body are protected by hard bony armor

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