Of an animal: living on the ground or (especially) in the earth or soil.
rare Of a lichen: growing on the ground; = "terricolous".
An animal that lives on the ground or (especially) in the earth or soil; specifically a member of the former division Terricolae of annelid worms, including earthworms and other forms which lack limbs and burrow through soil or mud.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William Swainson (1789–1855), naturalist and artist. From French terricole (of an animal) living on the ground or in the earth and its etymon scientific Latin terricola, specific use of classical Latin terricola inhabitant of the earth (2nd century a.d. in Apuleius) from terra + -cola.