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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web At first, the researchers didn't even notice the tardigrade was trapped in the piece of amber. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 The third-ever tardigrade fossil on record has been found within a piece of 16-million-year-old Dominican amber. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 9 Oct. 2021 One of the new CG ghosts, Muncher, took cues from a tardigrade (microscopic water bear) and glass frogs for translucency. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Jan. 2022 By detailing how the tardigrade's move, the study could help scientists design small nano-robots that scoot to deliver drugs around the human body or carry cargo to hard-to-reach areas, per Gizmodo. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Sep. 2021 Close observational analysis helped the researchers determine where the new species belongs on the tardigrade family tree. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 The squid tissue will be frozen on the station and returned to Earth later, preserving the molecular timeline of which genes turned off and on for the squid, similar to the tardigrade experiment. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 26 May 2021 Mosses which house many microscopic organisms, including the famous tardigrade, or water bear. Deboki Chakravarti, Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2021 However, some parts of a meteorite impacting Earth or Mars would experience lower shock pressures that a tardigrade could live through, Traspas says. Jonathan O'callaghan, Science | AAAS, 18 May 2021 See More

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

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 30 Nov. 2022.

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