1. a combining form meaning “fingered, possessing fingers,” or “toed, possessing toes,” used to form compound words in which the initial element specifies the type or number of fingers or toes:


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Word History and Origins

Origin of -dactylous1

< Greek -daktylos, adj. derivative of dáktylos finger, toe; -ous


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Words That use -dactylous

What does -dactylous mean?

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

The form -dactylous comes from Greek dáktylos, meaning “finger” or “toe,” combined with -ous, a suffix used to create adjectives from nouns, from Latin -ōsus, “full of.” 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 –dactylous?

When combined with words or word elements especially to form a noun, -dactylous becomes -dactyl, as in didactyl.

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

Examples of -dactylous

One example of a scientific term that features the form -dactylous is monodactylous, “having only one digit or claw.”

You may have come across the form mono- before; it means “alone, single, one,” from Greek mónos. The form -dactylous means “having digits.” Monodactylous literally translates to “having a single digit.”

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

What are some other forms that –dactylous may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

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