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[puh-ris-oh-dak-til] /pəˌrɪs oʊˈdæk tɪl/
having an uneven number of toes or digits on each foot.
any mammal of the order Perissodactyla, comprising the odd-toed hoofed quadrupeds and including the tapirs, rhinoceroses, and horses.
Also, perissodactyle
[puh-ris-oh-dak-til, -tahyl] /pəˌrɪs oʊˈdæk tɪl, -taɪl/ (Show IPA)
Compare artiodactyl.
Origin of perissodactyl
1840-50; < New Latin perissodactylus < Greek perissó(s) uneven, literally, beyond the norm, strange (derivative of périx (preposition and adv.) round about, akin to perí; see peri-) + -daktylos -dactylous
Related forms
perissodactylous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perissodactyl
Historical Examples
  • In the year 1898 the family had to buy a new set of harness for the perissodactyl.

    Roads of Destiny

    O. Henry
  • The fifth digit, for the same reasons as in the perissodactyl foot, first left the ground and became smaller.

  • The great group is now usually divided into those that are odd-toed (perissodactyl) and those that are even-toed (Artiodactyl).

    The Chain of Life in Geological Time Sir J. William Dawson
  • These animals, which are grouped with the horse among the odd-toed (perissodactyl) mammals, are now verging toward extinction.

    The Elements of Geology William Harmon Norton
  • Or, to put it more definitely: hoofed animals are divided into two groups, even-toed (artiodactyl) and odd-toed (perissodactyl).

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • Perissodac′tyl, Perissodac′tylate, perissodactyl′ic, Perissodac′tylous.

British Dictionary definitions for perissodactyl


any placental mammal of the order Perissodactyla, having hooves with an odd number of toes: includes horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses
of, relating to, or belonging to the Perissodactyla
Derived Forms
perissodactylous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin perissodactylus, from Greek perissos uneven + daktulos digit
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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perissodactyl in Science
Any of various hoofed mammals of the order Perissodactyla, having one or three hoofed toes on each hindfoot. During the Tertiary Period, perissodactyls were the dominant herbivorous fauna. Horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses are perissodactyls. Also called odd-toed ungulate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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