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[tuhsk] /tʌsk/
(in certain animals) a tooth developed to great length, usually one of a pair, as in the elephant, walrus, and wild boar, but singly in the narwhal.
a long, pointed, or protruding tooth.
a projection resembling the tusk of an animal.
Also called gain. Carpentry. a diagonally cut shoulder at the end of a timber for strengthening a tenon.
verb (used with object)
to dig up or tear off with the tusks.
to gore with a tusk.
verb (used without object)
to dig up or thrust at the ground with the tusks.
Origin of tusk
before 900; Middle English, metathetic variant of tux, Old English, variant of tusc tush2; cognate with Old Frisian tusk; akin to tooth
Related forms
tuskless, adjective
tusklike, adjective
untusked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tusk
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sooner than steal a 'cello, the light-fingered would button his coat over a baby white elephant and let it tusk his vitals.

  • When the balance was swung true, he tried to lift a tusk into the scale.

    Tales of Unrest Joseph Conrad
  • The white whale, or beluga, is something like a large narwhal without a tusk, and is also a dweller in the northern seas.

  • Like lightning the hog threw him and then ripped him with his tusk.

  • You are not an Adonis (except in outward form, perhaps), that you can be ripped up with his tusk.

    Some Private Views James Payn
British Dictionary definitions for tusk


a pointed elongated usually paired tooth in the elephant, walrus, and certain other mammals that is often used for fighting
the canine tooth of certain animals, esp horses
a sharp pointed projection
(building trades) Also called tusk tenon. a tenon shaped with an additional oblique shoulder to make a stronger joint
to stab, tear, or gore with the tusks
Derived Forms
tusked, adjective
tusklike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English tūsc; related to Old Frisian tosk; see tooth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tusk

Old English tux, tusc, cognate with Old Frisian tusk, probably from Proto-Germanic *tunthskaz (cf. Gothic tunþus "tooth"), extended form of the root of tooth. But there are no certain cognates outside Anglo-Frisian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tusk in Science
A long, pointed tooth, usually one of a pair, projecting from the mouth of certain animals, such as elephants, walruses, and wild pigs. Tusks are used for procuring food and as weapons.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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