fos·​so·​ri·​al fä-ˈsȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce fossorial (audio)
: adapted to digging
a fossorial foot

Examples of fossorial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Interestingly, in fossorial lizards, all five pigments were still around, but in fossorial snakes like the termite-decapitating blindsnakes, only one pigment remained. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 24 July 2015 Animals that burrow underground like the badger are called fossorial. National Geographic, 14 Feb. 2020 Fossorial animals live underground, and nocturnal animals only come out at night. Kellie Ann Benz, The Mercury News, 4 May 2017

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

Word History


Medieval Latin fossorius used for digging, from Latin fossor digger, from fodere

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fossorial was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near fossorial

Cite this Entry

“Fossorial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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