\ˈtəsk \

Definition of tusk 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an elongated greatly enlarged tooth (as of an elephant or walrus) that projects when the mouth is closed and serves especially for digging food or as a weapon broadly : a long protruding tooth

2 : one of the small projections on a tusk tenon


tusked; tusking; tusks

Definition of tusk (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to dig up with a tusk also : to gash with a tusk

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Other Words from tusk


tusked \ˈtəskt \ adjective
tusklike \ˈtəsk-ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of tusk in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

JetBlue’s move comes roughly a month-and-half after Alaska Airlines updated its policy to ban amphibians and animals with hooves, tusks or horns. Chris Morris, Fortune, "JetBlue: Leave the Emotional Support Hedgehogs at Home—But Miniature Horses Are Still Acceptable," 6 June 2018 Delta won’t accept hedgehogs, possums known as sugar gliders, non-household birds and animals with tusks or hooves. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Do's (and don'ts) of flying with an emotional support animal," 31 Jan. 2018 In most African elephant populations, as few as 2 percent of the cows lack tusks. New York Times, "Where Female Elephants Without Tusks Roam — and Poachers Stay Away," 16 June 2018 Thousands of elephants are killed every year in Africa, so our government banned the trade in tusks. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Meet the Chinese Philanthropists Who Are Pledging Big Money to End Climate Change," 25 May 2018 In that incident, the men sought tusk ivory that can be carved and sold as art. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Fourth Brevig Mission man charged with waste in killing of 14 walrus," 6 July 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 Sato II is part of a group of esteemed elephants known as the giant tuskers — according to Moller one of Sato's tusks alone weighed 112 pounds. Caroline Alkire, Good Housekeeping, "One of Africa's Oldest Elephants Has Been Killed By Poachers," 7 Mar. 2017 In Africa, poachers kill tens of thousands of elephants a year for their tusks. Zahid Mahmood, CNN, "UK to introduce 'one of world's toughest' ivory bans," 3 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He also was ordered to transfer the elephant’s tusks back to the Zimbabwean government. Washington Post, "Charges filed against South Africa hunter over ivory import," 22 May 2018 Now American Airlines is telling passengers some of their service and emotional support animals — including goats, hedgehogs and tusked creatures — can’t fly. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "American Airlines bans emotional support amphibians, ferrets, goats and more," 14 May 2018 In fact, last July Hong Kong authorities seized 7.2 tons of elephant tusks hidden under a shipment of frozen fish from Malaysia, the largest ivory bust. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Hong Kong Will Phase Out Ivory Trade by 2021," 2 Feb. 2018 TUSK TAKERS: Thai officials at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, in Bangkok, Thailand, confiscated nearly 700 pounds of African elephant tusks worth about $800,000, the Associated Press says. Jonathan Irish, National Geographic, "Law Enforcement Officer Fatally Shot By Suspected Poacher," 10 Apr. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tusk.' 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 tusk


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1629, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tusk


Middle English, alteration of tux, from Old English tūx; akin to Old English tūsc tush

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Statistics for tusk

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tusk

The first known use of tusk was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for tusk



English Language Learners Definition of tusk

: a very long, large tooth that sticks out of the mouth of an animal (such as an elephant, walrus, or boar)


\ˈtəsk \

Kids Definition of tusk

: a very long large tooth (as of an elephant or walrus) that sticks out when the mouth is closed and is used especially in digging and fighting


\ˈtəsk \

Medical Definition of tusk 

: an elongated greatly enlarged tooth that projects when the mouth is closed and serves for digging food or as a weapon broadly : a long protruding tooth

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