Definition of edentate in English:



  • A mammal of an order distinguished by the lack of incisor and canine teeth. The edentates, which include anteaters, sloths, and armadillos, are all native to Central and South America.

    • ‘The edentates, including the sloths, ant-eaters and armadillos, were originally part of a larger group which included aardvarks and pangolins - all had unique extra movable parts between vertebrae in the lower back.’
    • ‘It became home to a unique zoo of hoofed mammals, edentates, marsupials, and more giant flightless birds (Phorusrachids).’
    • ‘These remains included isolated teeth and a lower jaw of Equus, postcranial remains and lower molars of Mammuthus, a tooth and dermal ossicles of a mylodontid edentate, and glyptodont scutes.’
    • ‘Another group of uniquely South American mammals, the edentates (sloths, armadillos and anteaters), survived the competition with the invaders and are still abundant in South America.’


Early 19th century: from Latin edentatus, past participle of edentare ‘make toothless’, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out’ + dens, dent- ‘tooth’.