Definition of fossorial in English:



  • 1(of an animal) burrowing.

    • ‘The means of intraspecific communication in the insectivorous fossorial mammals clearly needs to be examined in more detail and is not addressed further here.’
    • ‘For instance, because rodents drum with feet that are also used for digging, footdrumming may have originated as a ritualized form of digging behavior, especially in fossorial mammals.’
    • ‘The only Australian fossorial mammal is the marsupial mole, Notoryctes typhlops (order Notoryctimorphia, family Notoryctidae).’
    • ‘Most mammals employing this behavior are subterranean, rather than simply fossorial; most fossorial mammals are limited to scratch digging.’
    • ‘There is considerable behavioral evidence to suggest that certain fossorial mammals do use the seismic channel to glean information about their surroundings.’
    1. 1.1 (of limbs) adapted for use in burrowing.
      • ‘In insects with fossorial legs the fore legs and tibiae are specialized for digging.’


Mid 19th century: from medieval Latin fossorius (from Latin fossor ‘digger’, from fodere ‘to dig’) + -al.