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 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, "Electric Vehicle Lease Deals," 22 May 2020 The virus can mutate, or someone can eat a bat or an aardvark and hop on an airliner. Los Angeles Times, "Protesters rally in Orange County to denounce Newsom’s beach closure," 2 May 2020 Since then, the zoo has had aardvarks, sloths, meerkats, manatees and more on the show. Briana Rice, Cincinnati.com, "You have another chance to see Fiona during Cincinnati Zoo’s Home Safari Facebook Live," 7 Apr. 2020 Fruitafossor, by contrast, was like a Jurassic aardvark, with powerful limbs that appear well-suited to tearing open termite nests. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Fossil Site Reveals How Mammals Thrived After the Death of the Dinosaurs," 25 Oct. 2019 An aardvark joined the Western Sculpture Park’s 15-piece collection last month. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "It’s a sculpture, it’s an aardvark, it’s a … storage shed? Western Sculpture Park celebrates a functional new piece.," 16 July 2019 Consider Peppa’s compatriot in kid-friendly shows turned adult-skewing memes, Arthur the aardvark. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How Peppa Pig became an LGBTQ icon," 29 July 2019 Ali the aardvark gave birth to the 3-pound baby boy late in December. The Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Help the Cincinnati Zoo name its new baby aardvark," 1 Jan. 2018 Hippos and aardvarks also give milk without being anesthetized. Zoe Sayler, Smithsonian, "What Aardvark Milk Reveals about the Evolution of Lactation," 21 Mar. 2018

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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Time Traveler for aardvark

Time Traveler

The first known use of aardvark was in 1822

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Cite this Entry

“Aardvark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aardvark. Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for aardvark


How to pronounce aardvark (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on aardvark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aardvark

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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