Definition of pangolin
- an African and Asian mammal that has a body covered with horny overlapping scales, a small head with an elongated snout, a long sticky tongue for catching ants and termites, and a tapering tail. Also called scaly anteater.
- Family Manidae and order Pholidota: genera Manis (three species in Asia) and Phataginus (four species in Africa)
late 18th century: from Malay peng-guling, literally 'roller' (from its habit of rolling into a ball)