pangolin

noun
pan·go·lin | \ˈpaŋ-gə-lən, ˈpan-\

Definition of pangolin 

: any of a family (Manidae of the order Pholidota) of Asian and African toothless mammals having the body covered dorsally with large imbricated horny scales

called also scaly anteater

Illustration of pangolin

Illustration of pangolin

Examples of pangolin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Thunderstorm swoop included the confiscation of 8 tons of pangolin scales, half of which was found by Vietnamese authorities on a ship from Africa. Washington Post, "Giant crackdown against wildlife crime in 92 countries," 20 June 2018 Since their launch in 2014, Canines for Conservation has completed over 200 busts of poached merchandise, homing in on ivory elephant tusks, pangolin scales, rhinoceros horns and more with 90 percent accuracy. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 Poaching of elephants, rhinoceroses and pangolins makes headlines almost every day. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Tracing Thailand’s Illegal Rosewood Trade," 15 Mar. 2018 Living animals tend to have tails with weapons that are made of keratin, like the quills of a porcupine or the scales of a pangolin. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Where Did Animals With Tail Weapons Go? Here’s a Back Story," 16 Jan. 2018 There are three different species of anteater: the aardvark, the giant anteater and the pangolin. Zoe Sayler, Smithsonian, "What Aardvark Milk Reveals about the Evolution of Lactation," 21 Mar. 2018 One of the world’s most trafficked animals is the pangolin — for its meat and its scales, which are used for medicine. Diane Daniel, BostonGlobe.com, "How tourists can help prevent wildlife trafficking and poaching," 20 Mar. 2018 The pangolin, a mammal sometimes confused with the armadillo, has become one of the most trafficked animals. Dionne Searcey, New York Times, "Ivory Coast Arrests Six in Ring That Smuggled Parts of Elephants, Leopards and Pangolins," 25 Jan. 2018 The loot also contained a half of a ton of pangolin scales. Dionne Searcey, New York Times, "Ivory Coast Arrests Six in Ring That Smuggled Parts of Elephants, Leopards and Pangolins," 25 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of pangolin

1774, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pangolin

Malay dialect pĕngguling

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pangolin

Statistics for pangolin

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pangolin

The first known use of pangolin was in 1774

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on pangolin

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pangolin

Comments on pangolin

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!