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a combination of -dactyl and -y3, used to form nouns to stems in -dactyl: hyperdactyly.
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Origin of -dactyly

<New Latin -dactylia.See -dactyl, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -dactyly mean?

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

The form -dactyly comes from Greek dáktylos, meaning “finger” or “toe.” This is combined with the suffix -y, from Greek -ia, which has various uses, including in the formation of abstract nouns. 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 –dactyly?

The form –dactyly does not have any variants, but it is related to the forms -dactylous, as in tetradactylous, and -dactyl, as in tridactyl. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article for these combining forms.

Examples of -dactyly

A scientific term that features the form -dactyly is monodactyly, “the presence of a single finger on the hand or a single toe on the foot.”

The form mono- means “alone, single, one,” from Greek mónos. The form -dactyly means “the condition of possessing digits.” Monodactyly literally translates to “the condition of having a single digit.”

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form bi- means “two.” With this in mind, what does bidactyly mean?