an animal with grey fur and wide black and white lines on its head. Badgers are nocturnal (= active mostly at night) and live in holes in the ground. See related entries: Wild mammals Word Origin early 16th cent.: perhaps from badge, with reference to its distinctive head markings. The verb sense (late 18th cent.) originates from the now illegal sport of badger-baiting, where dogs draw a badger from its set and kill it.