1706, from Rus. mammot', probably from Ostyak (a Finno-Ugric language of northern Russia, cf. Finnish maa "earth"). Because the remains were dug from the earth, the animal was believed to root like a mole. The adj. is 1802 in Amer.Eng., in reference to the beasts' enormous size.
(mām'əth) Any of various extinct elephants of the genus Mammuthus, having long, upwardly curving tusks and thick hair. Mammoths grew to great size and lived throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the Ice Age.