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See also: Tusk


Walruses with tusks.
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Men with elephant tusks.


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English tusk (also tux, tusch), from Old English tūx, tūsc (grinder, canine tooth, tusk), from Proto-Germanic *tunþskaz (tooth), extended form of Proto-Germanic *tanþs (tooth), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃dónts (tooth). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Tusk (tooth), West Frisian tosk (tooth), Icelandic toskur (a tusk, tooth) (whence the Old Norse and Icelandic Ratatoskr and Ratatoskur respectively), Gothic 𐍄𐌿𐌽𐌸𐌿𐍃 (tunþus, tooth) and *𐍄𐌿𐌽𐌳𐌹 (*tundi, thorn, tooth). More at tooth.


tusk (plural tusks)

  1. One of a pair of elongated pointed teeth that extend outside the mouth of an animal such as walrus, elephant or wild boar.
    Until the CITES sales ban, elephant tusks were the 'backbone' of the legal ivory trade.
  2. A small projection on a (tusk) tenon.
  3. A tusk shell.
  4. (carpentry) A projecting member like a tenon, and serving the same or a similar purpose, but composed of several steps, or offsets, called teeth.


tusk (third-person singular simple present tusks, present participle tusking, simple past and past participle tusked)

  1. To dig up using a tusk, as boars do.
  2. (obsolete) To bare or gnash the teeth.

Related terms[edit]


  • tusk” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.
  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967

Etymology 2[edit]

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tusk (plural tusks)

  1. A fish, the torsk (Brosme brosme).

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for tusk in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Old Frisian[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Cognate with Old English tūsc.


tusk m

  1. tooth



  • West Frisian: tosk