Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several omnivorous, burrowing, edentate mammals (family Dasypodidae), native to southern North America and South America and characterized by an armorlike covering consisting of jointed bony plates.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of a family of burrowing mammals covered with bony, jointed, protective plates, genus Dasypus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any edentate animal if the family Dasypidæ, peculiar to America. The body and head are incased in an armor composed of small bony plates. The armadillos burrow in the earth, seldom going abroad except at night. When attacked, they curl up into a ball, presenting the armor on all sides. Their flesh is good food. There are several species, one of which (the peba) is found as far north as Texas. See peba, poyou, tatouay.
  • n. A genus of small isopod Crustacea that can roll themselves into a ball.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An American edentate quadruped, of the order Bruta (or Edentata) and suborder Loricata, and of the extant families Tatusiidœ, Dasypodidœ, and Chlamydophoridœ, or of the extinct family Glyptodontidœ, having a hard shell or carapace like a coat of mail, resulting from a peculiar ossification of the integument and the confluence of numerous small scutes.
  • n. In Crustacea: A genus of isopods, of the family Oniscidœ, including the pillbugs, which can roll themselves into a ball like the mammals called armadillos.
  • n. A species of this genus; a pill-bug or sow-bug; a kind of wood-louse.
  • n. A name given to an electric battery composed of copper and zinc elements riveted together, and designed to be worn as a remedy in certain diseases.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. burrowing chiefly nocturnal mammal with body covered with strong horny plates

Etymologies

Spanish, diminutive of armado, armored, past participle of armar, to arm, from Latin armāre, from arma, arms.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish armadillo, diminutive of armado ‘armored’, in reference to its protective plates. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Armadillos, and Dangerous

    I would jump six feet in the air too, if some giant tried to write on my back with White-out.

    December 5, 2008

  • The 'Recent words' list at the moment contains a long sequence including: contralto, legato, spiccato, staccato, con legno, armadillo, pizzicato, crescendo, decrescendo, . . .

    I imagine it as a kind of muffled xylophone effect.

    September 4, 2008

  • Honestly,
    Is this the way to armadillo?

    February 9, 2008

  • "The very meat we eat, when set on the table, if it be native, I mean of the country, perfumes the whole room; especially a little beast called an armadillo, a thing which I can liken to nothing so well as a rhinoceros; 'tis all in white armor, so jointed that it moves as well in it as if it had nothing on: this beast is about the bigness of a pig of six weeks old."

    - Oroonoko, Aphra Behn

    February 9, 2008