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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web When kids flip the page, they’re challenged to find objects, animals and shapes that correspond to those letters (one armadillo, two bicycles, and so forth) hidden in an artsy collage. Karen Cicero, Good Housekeeping, 20 Oct. 2022 After their first sighting, Ms. Carver and her husband began seeing more damage from the armadillo. Joe Barrett, WSJ, 27 Sep. 2022 Of all the photographs Lee took from 1983 to 1989, one without a human subject stands out as a perfect theme image: a dead armadillo in Waterproof, Louisiana, who seems to have been lightning-struck. Casey Gerald, The Atlantic, 14 Sep. 2022 Now humans catch the disease by hunting or eating armadillo meat. Quanta Magazine, 27 Apr. 2022 Vulcan’s pick aligned with a prediction from Loveland Living Planet Aquarium, where a tiny armadillo named Dahlia crossed a miniature field to select the Rams as her victor, FOX 13 reported. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 Feb. 2022 And how do these women not know the difference between a possum and an armadillo? Kristen Baldwin,, 8 Mar. 2022 Its requisite adorable animal sidekick, the armadillo-pill-bug hybrid Tuk Tuk, is also a trusty steed capable of navigating Raya through chase sequences. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 5 Apr. 2021 Telling the uplifting story of a feisty young woman fighting for her homeland in the Amazon rainforest, abetted by Dillo, an armadillo, and Vaca, an oversized tapir, this is a highly theatrical proposition. John Hopewell, Variety, 30 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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 3 Dec. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on armadillo

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