Origin of aardvarkobsolete Afrik, earth pig from Dutch aarde, earth + vark, pig: for Indo-European base see farrow
Origin of aardvarkObsolete Afrikaans aarde earth ( from Middle Dutch aerde ; see er-2 in Indo-European roots.) vark pig ( from Middle Dutch varken ; see porko- in Indo-European roots.)
- The nocturnal, insectivorous, burrowing, mammal Orycteropus afer, of the order Tubulidentata, somewhat resembling a pig, common in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. [First attested in the late 18th c.]
- The aardvark burrows in the ground and feeds mostly on termites, which it catches with its long, slimy tongue.
- (slang, particularly in the southeast US) A silly or credulous person who is prone to mistakes or blunders.
- I walked into the wrong bathroom like a total aardvark.
From Afrikaans aardvarken (obsolete), erdvark, from Afrikaans aarde (“earth”), (from Dutch, from Middle Dutch aerde) + Afrikaans vark (“pig”), (from Middle Dutch varken (“pig”)).Early European colonists in South Africa noticed that the animal was similar to a pig, while "aarde" hints at the animal's habit of burrowing.