tar·​di·​grade ˈtär-də-ˌgrād How to pronounce tardigrade (audio)
: any of a phylum (Tardigrada) of microscopic invertebrates with four pairs of stout legs that live usually in water or damp moss

called also water bear

Examples of tardigrade in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Miller, who has studied and written about tardigrades, was not involved with this research. Jenna Schnuer, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 Still, the researchers say there’s much more work to be done to understand how free radicals are working in tardigrades. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 17 Jan. 2024 To withstand extreme cold, for example, tardigrades don’t enter tun. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Jan. 2024 Under these forms of stress, tardigrades curl up into a temporary protective state of dormancy called a tun. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 17 Jan. 2024 In this state, tardigrades’ metabolic activity slows to a mere crawl, while specialized proteins swathe and protect their cells. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2023 Their search typically includes seeking evidence of very simple life forms, such as bacteria, algae, or tardigrades. Ramin Skibba, WIRED, 13 Sep. 2023 As one of the officers stands to respond to the vandalism report, his body camera sweeps the room, showing the Trump flag, a U.S. flag and a silhouette of a tardigrade — a tiny organism celebrated for being virtually unkillable. Mike Carter, Anchorage Daily News, 12 July 2023 The typical tardigrade, however, measures just 1 millimeter (.04 inches) in size or smaller. Kate Golembiewski, Discover Magazine, 8 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


ultimately from Latin tardigradus slow-moving, from tardus slow + gradi to step, go — more at grade entry 1

First Known Use

1860, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tardigrade was in 1860

Dictionary Entries Near tardigrade

Cite this Entry

“Tardigrade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tardigrade. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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