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[dahy-nuh-sawr] /ˈdaɪ nəˌsɔr/
any chiefly terrestrial, herbivorous or carnivorous reptile of the extinct orders Saurischia and Ornithischia, from the Mesozoic Era, certain species of which are the largest known land animals.
something that is unwieldy in size, anachronistically outmoded, or unable to adapt to change:
The old steel mill was a dinosaur that cost the company millions to operate.
Origin of dinosaur
< New Latin Dinosaurus (1841), originally a genus name. See dino-, -saur Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dinosaur
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I don't ever want to see or taste a dinosaur steak again, he thought.

    Starman's Quest Robert Silverberg
  • The only complete skeleton of a dinosaur ever found was taken out in 1909.

    The Book of the National Parks Robert Sterling Yard
  • But they did not meet fairly, head to head, as the dinosaur intended.

    In the Morning of Time Charles G. D. Roberts
  • The teeth of this horned dinosaur resemble those of the Megalosaur.

    Extinct Monsters H. N. Hutchinson
  • Altogether, Triceratops is very different to any other dinosaur.

    Extinct Monsters H. N. Hutchinson
British Dictionary definitions for dinosaur


any extinct terrestrial reptile of the orders Saurischia and Ornithischia, many of which were of gigantic size and abundant in the Mesozoic era See also saurischian, ornithischian Compare pterosaur, plesiosaur
a person or thing that is considered to be out of date
Derived Forms
dinosaurian, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin dinosaurus, from Greek deinos fearful + sauros lizard
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 dinosaur

1841, coined in Modern Latin by Sir Richard Owen, from comb. form of Greek deinos "terrible" (see dire) + sauros "lizard" (see -saurus). Figurative sense of "person or institution not adapting to change" is from 1952.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dinosaur in Science
Any of various extinct reptiles of the orders Saurischia and Ornithischia that flourished during the Mesozoic Era. Dinosaurs were carnivorous or herbivorous, dwelled mostly on land, and varied from the size of a small dog to the largest land animals that ever lived. One group of dinosaurs evolved into birds. See more at ornithischian, saurischian. See Note at bird.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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