[ dak-til ]
/ ˈdæk tɪl /
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Prosody. a foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short in quantitative meter, or one stressed followed by two unstressed in accentual meter, as in gently and humanly.Symbol: 
a finger or toe.
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Origin of dactyl

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin dactylus<Greek dáktylos finger, a dactyl, referring to the three joints of the finger

Other definitions for dactyl (2 of 3)


or Dak·tyl

[ dak-til ]
/ ˈdæk tɪl /

noun, plural Dac·tyls, Dac·tyl·i [dak-ti-lahy]. /ˈdæk tɪˌlaɪ/. Classical Mythology.
any of a number of beings dwelling on Mount Ida and working as metalworkers and magicians.

Origin of Dactyl

<Greek Dáktyloi (Idaîoi) (Idaean) craftsmen or wizards (plural of dáktylos;see dactyl)

Other definitions for dactyl (3 of 3)


variant of -dactylous, especially with nouns: pterodactyl.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -dactyl mean?

The combining form -dactyl is used like a suffix with two related meanings. Depending on the context, it can mean “fingered, possessing fingers” or “toed, possessing toes.” Essentially, -dactyl means “having digits.” It is occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in anatomy and zoology.

The form -dactyl comes from Greek dáktylos, meaning “finger” or “toe.” In poetry, the metrical foot known as a dactyl also derives from this same Greek root. Learn more at our entry for dactyl.

What are variants of –dactyl?

The form -dactyl is a variant of -dactylous, as in tetradactylous.

While not a variant of –dactyl, -dactyly is also related to this form. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article for these combining forms.

Examples of -dactyl

A scientific term that features the form -dactyl is tridactyl, “having three fingers or toes, as certain reptiles.”

The form tri- means “three,” from Greek treîs. As we have already seen, -dactyl means “possessing digits.” Tridactyl literally translates to “having three digits.”

What are some words that use the combining form –dactyl?

What are some other forms that -dactyl may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form tetra- means “four.” With this in mind, what does tetradactyl mean?

How to use dactyl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dactyl

/ (ˈdæktɪl) /

Also called: dactylic prosody a metrical foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short (– ◡ ◡)Compare bacchius
zoology any digit of a vertebrate

Word Origin for dactyl

C14: via Latin from Greek daktulos finger, dactyl, comparing the finger's three joints to the three syllables
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