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pterodactyl

[ter-uh-dak-til]
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noun
  1. any of a number of genera of flying reptiles of the extinct order Pterosauria, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, having a highly reduced tail and teeth and a birdlike beak.

Origin of pterodactyl

1820–30; < New Latin Pterodactylus genus name, equivalent to Greek pteró(n) wing + -daktylos -dactylous
Related formspter·o·dac·tyl·ic, pter·o·dac·tyl·ous, adjectivepter·o·dac·tyl·id, adjective, nounpter·o·dac·tyl·oid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pterodactyl

pterodactyl

noun
  1. any extinct flying reptile of the genus Pterodactylus and related genera, having membranous wings supported on an elongated fourth digitSee also pterosaur

Word Origin

C19: from ptero- + Greek daktulos finger
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

Word Origin and History for pterodactyl

n.

extinct flying reptile, 1830, from French ptérodactyle (1821), from Modern Latin genus name Pterodactylus, from Greek pteron "wing" (see ptero-) + daktylos "finger" (see dactyl).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pterodactyl in Science

pterodactyl

[tĕr′ə-dăktəl]
  1. Any of various small, extinct flying reptiles (pterosaurs) of the genus Pterodactylus of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Pterodactyls had long, narrow jaws with sharp teeth, and a wingspan of 1 m (3.3 ft) or less.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.