aard·​vark | \ ˈärd-ˌvärk How to pronounce aardvark (audio) \

Definition of aardvark

: a large burrowing nocturnal mammal (Orycteropus afer) of sub-Saharan Africa that has a long snout, extensible tongue, powerful claws, large ears, and heavy tail and feeds especially on termites and ants

Illustration of aardvark

Illustration of aardvark

Examples of aardvark in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an upcoming special on Sept. 6, Arthur, the bespectacled aardvark, and his gang will bring a new friend into the fold: a Sikh boy named Samir. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 27 Aug. 2021 The beloved show, which debuted in 1996, followed Arthur Read, an 8-year-old aardvark, and his life in the fictional American town of Elwood City. Danielle Broadway, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2021 The 150-million-year-old Fruitafossor, on the other hand, made a living digging termites and other social insects out of the ground like an aardvark, while the Jurassic Vilevolodon was the mammaliaform equivalent of a sugar glider. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2021 This fall, a camel, an aardvark, a frog, and two dolphins are moving into a new retirement community in Queens. Caroline Spivack, Curbed, 27 May 2021 See, it’s B as in bonkers, A as in apple, R as in rooster, and B as in bonkers; but then, more confusingly, S as in syphilis, T as in T-bone steak, A as in aardvark, and then R as in rheumatoid arthritis. Jackson Mchenry, Vulture, 6 Apr. 2021 Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park has had a handful of births this year, including a giraffe, a zebra, an aardvark, a porcupine and recently a white rhinoceros. Orlando Sentinel Podcasts, orlandosentinel.com, 4 Nov. 2020 Three years/30,000 miles $1099 per month $9294 due at signing Shaped like an aardvark’s back and featuring a truly silly set of gullwing side doors, the standard Model X Long Range is slightly more expensive to lease than the equivalent Model S. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, 22 May 2020 The virus can mutate, or someone can eat a bat or an aardvark and hop on an airliner. Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2020

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

1822, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aardvark

borrowed from early Afrikaans aardvarken (modern erdvark), from aarde "earth" + vark "hog"; akin to Old English eorthe "earth" and to Old English fearh "young pig" — more at earth entry 1, farrow entry 1

Note: Current Afrikaans erdvark, as against early aardvarken, aardvark (with Afrikaans loss of the Dutch final syllable), reflects early competition in Afrikaans between standard Dutch aarde and the North/South Holland form erd(e) (with lengthened [e] or [ε]); as a simplex Afrikaans retains both with different senses: erd, "earth, clay," aarde "earth (the planet)."

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The first known use of aardvark was in 1822

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Last Updated

31 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aardvark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aardvark. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for aardvark



English Language Learners Definition of aardvark

: a large African animal that has a long nose and that eats ants and other insects


aard·​vark | \ ˈärd-ˌvärk How to pronounce aardvark (audio) \

Kids Definition of aardvark

: an African animal with a long snout and a long sticky tongue that feeds mostly on ants and termites and is active at night

More from Merriam-Webster on aardvark

Nglish: Translation of aardvark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aardvark for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aardvark


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