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bad·​ger ˈba-jər How to pronounce badger (audio)
: any of various burrowing mammals (especially Taxidea taxus and Meles meles) of the weasel family that are widely distributed in the northern hemisphere
: the pelt or fur of a badger
capitalized : a native or resident of Wisconsin
used as a nickname


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badgered; badgering; badgers

transitive verb

: to harass or annoy persistently
… the mill foreman so taunted the workers, so badgered them and told them that they dared not quit …Sinclair Lewis
Choose the Right Synonym for badger

bait, badger, heckle, hector, chivy, hound mean to harass by efforts to break down.

bait implies wanton cruelty or delight in persecuting a helpless victim.

baited the chained dog

badger implies pestering so as to drive a person to confusion or frenzy.

badgered her father for a car

heckle implies persistent annoying or belligerent interruptions of a speaker.

drunks heckled the stand-up comic

hector carries an implication of bullying and domineering.

football players hectored by their coach

chivy suggests persecution by teasing or nagging.

chivied the new student mercilessly

hound implies unrelenting pursuit and harassing.

hounded by creditors

Examples of badger in a Sentence

Verb She finally badgered me into going.
Recent Examples on the Web
This video, showing a honey badger fearlessly protecting its young, illustrates this beautifully. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 19 July 2023 Now, a new study tackles the mystery of honeyguides collaborating with honey badgers. Melissa Breyer, Treehugger, 29 June 2023 The creatures, which are genetically related to weasels and badgers, are widespread in Alaska and Canada, with smaller populations in Washington and Idaho, according to wildlife officials. oregonlive, 3 June 2023 The incredible video is far from the first time a badger has faced off with a predator larger than itself. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 19 July 2023 The badger didn’t seem to be perturbed, even though Vartiainen was only about 23 feet away. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 17 Jan. 2023 The leopard pounced on the badger and pinned it down. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 19 July 2023 Mulder portrays this literally, at night, with the glowing eyes of badgers, birds, mice, foxes, deer, and, of course, with the everpresent gaze of the camera. Sebastian Mulder, The New Yorker, 12 July 2023 Other situations, such as a honeyguide chirping to the badger and the badger following the bird to a bees’ nest are unclear. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 29 June 2023
As the institute’s financial straits mounted, head therapists badgered patients into becoming computer programmers, a highly lucrative emerging field. Hannah E. Meyers, National Review, 10 Sep. 2023 At one point in the trial, the judge admonished the attorney for badgering a witness. J. C. Duffy, The New Yorker, 2 Sep. 2023 According to Arianna Davis, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, Lizzo then badgered Davis into touching one woman’s breast. Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2023 But imagine if the agency began badgering manufacturers about color. Heather Wilhelm, National Review, 10 Aug. 2023 Judge: Don't badger witnesses Earlier, the defense sought unsuccessfully to strike the testimony of a teacher who described her on Thursday. Gina Kaufman, Detroit Free Press, 28 July 2023 After months of badgering them, my manager cried on the phone. Radhika Seth, Vogue, 16 June 2023 Badgley directed the show’s ninth episode, which neatly sets up the events of the finale: Joe wants to free Marienne but doesn’t know how, his student Nadia (Amy-Leigh Hickman) has discovered Marienne in the basement, and is onto him — and Joe is really sick of Rhys badgering him. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 11 Mar. 2023 The committee also put forward evidence -- via excerpts of a deposition of Keith Kellogg, a Pence national security adviser with the Trump on the 6th -- that Trump continued to badger Pence on the phone that morning about Pence's decision not to disrupt the certification. Tierney Sneed, CNN, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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

Word History



probably reduction of bageard, badgerde, from badge entry 1 + -ard; from the white mark on its forehead


from the sport of baiting badgers

First Known Use


1523, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1782, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of badger was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near badger

Cite this Entry

“Badger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
bad·​ger ˈbaj-ər How to pronounce badger (audio)
: any of several sturdy burrowing flesh-eating mammals widely distributed in the northern hemisphere
also : the pelt or fur of a badger


2 of 2 verb
badgered; badgering
: to annoy again and again

More from Merriam-Webster on badger

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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