tardigrade

[tahr-di-greyd]
noun
1.
Also called bear animalcule, water bear. any microscopic, chiefly herbivorous invertebrate of the phylum Tardigrada, living in water, on mosses, lichens, etc.
adjective
2.
belonging or pertaining to the phylum Tardigrada.
3.
slow in pace or movement.

Origin:
1615–25; < Latin tardigradus slow-paced. See tardy, -grade

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
tardigrade (ˈtɑːdɪˌɡreɪd)
 
n
1.  Popular name: water bear any minute aquatic segmented eight-legged invertebrate of the phylum Tardigrada, related to the arthropods, occurring in soil, ditches, etc
 
adj
2.  of, relating to, or belonging to the Tardigrada
 
[C17: via Latin tardigradus, from tardus sluggish + gradī to walk]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
tardigrade   (tär'dĭ-grād')  Pronunciation Key 
Any of various slow-moving, minute invertebrates of the phylum Tardigrada. Tardigrades have a head and four fused body segments, each of which has a pair of stubby legs ending in claws. They live in water, damp moss, flower petals, or sand, and are usually 1 mm (0.04 inches) or less in size. Tardigrades are able to resist extremely low temperature, pressure, and humidity, and go into dormant states for months or years. They are believed to be intermediate in evolutionary development between annelids and arthropods. Also called water bear.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

tardigrade

any of about 350 species of free-living, cosmopolitan invertebrates belonging to the phylum Tardigrada. In evolutionary development they are considered to lie between annelid worms and arthropods (e.g., insects, crustaceans). Tardigrades are mostly about 1 mm or less in size. They live in varying habitats: in damp moss, on flowering plants, in sand, in freshwater, and in the sea. In adapting to this wide range of external conditions, a large number of genera and species have evolved.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The samples are a mixture of three tardigrade species.
People look at the human, relate to it, and then ask about the tardigrade.
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