mas·​to·​don | \ ˈma-stə-ˌdän How to pronounce mastodon (audio) , -dən\

Definition of mastodon

1 : any of various extinct mammals (genus Mammut synonym Mastodon) of the elephant family existing from the Miocene through the Pleistocene that are distinguished from the related mammoths chiefly by molar teeth with cone-shaped cusps
2 : one that is unusually large

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Other Words from mastodon

mastodonic \ ˌma-​stə-​ˈdä-​nik How to pronounce mastodonic (audio) \ adjective
mastodont \ ˈma-​stə-​ˌdänt How to pronounce mastodont (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of mastodon in a Sentence

mom-and-pop stores just can't compete with these mastodons of retailing

Recent Examples on the Web

Then Jiminy Cricket pops up — yep — and another town is overrun with mastodons. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Salman Rushdie’s ‘Quichotte’ is a shambling ‘Don Quixote’ for our deceptive era," 3 Sep. 2019 This encourages frequent short visits, which are the best way to view masterpieces or mastodons. Mona Charen, National Review, "Life in D.C.," 22 Aug. 2019 According to Ohio History Central, both mastodon and mammoth fossils have been found around the state. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "A 12-year-old snags a mammoth discovery while on vacation in Ohio," 14 Aug. 2019 The following year, three boys in Mississippi dug up a mastodon fossil believed to be almost 100,000 years old. Fox News, "Woolly mammoth tooth discovered in Ohio creek by 12-year-old boy," 14 Aug. 2019 This encourages frequent short visits, which are really the best way to view masterpieces or mastodons. Mona Charen, National Review, "In Defense of Washington, D.C.," 12 Aug. 2019 The key, her team suggests, was dietary flexibility following the disappearance of many of North America’s large prehistoric herbivores, such as giant ground sloths, mammoths, mastodons, and camels. John Pickrell, National Geographic, "Saber-tooth surprise: Fossils redraw picture of the fearsome big cat," 5 Aug. 2019 By around 13,000 years ago, our ancestors were on every continent, sharing the Ice Age-era Earth with megafauna like the mastodon. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Here Are 12 Things You Might Miss in the Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall," 7 June 2019 Defined by the long trunks and massive size, Proboscidea's ancestry include the mastodon of Ice Age fame. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "It Will Take Millions of Years for Evolution to Replace What We Might Lose in the Next 50," 16 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mastodon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mastodon

1811, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mastodon

borrowed from New Latin Mastodont-, Mastodon, genus name, Latinization of French mastodonte, vernacular name for the animal, from Greek mastós "breast, nipple" (probably from a pre-Greek substratal language) + French -odonte -odont; so named from the nipple-like cusps on the crowns of the molar teeth

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7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for mastodon

The first known use of mastodon was in 1811

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English Language Learners Definition of mastodon

: a type of animal that was related to the mammoth and that lived in ancient times

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mastodon

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Spanish Central: Translation of mastodon

Nglish: Translation of mastodon for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mastodon

Comments on mastodon

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


to make a temporary encampment

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