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a combining form meaning “having a jaw” of the kind or in the position specified by the initial element: prognathous.
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Origin of -gnathous

<Greek -gnathos -jawed, adj. derivative of gnáthos jaw (akin to chin); see -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does -gnathous mean?

The combining form -gnathous is used like a suffix meaning “having a jaw.” It is occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in zoology.

The form -gnathous comes from the Greek gnáthos, meaning “jaw.” Despite the similarity in spelling between -gnathous and the verb gnash, “to grind or strike (the teeth) together,” the two terms are unrelated.

The term Agnatha, which refers to “the class of vertebrates comprising the lampreys, hagfishes, and several extinct forms, having no jaws or paired appendages,” comes from a Latin equivalent of this word. Find out more at our entry for Agnatha.

Examples of -gnathous

A medical term that features the combining form -gnathous is anisognathous, “having upper and lower jaws of unequal width, especially in the areas of the molars.”

The prefix aniso- means “unequal” or “uneven.” The form -gnathous means “having a jaw,” and therefore, anisognathous literally translates to “having an uneven jaw.”

What are some words that use the combining form -gnathous?

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

Break it down!

Some birds like parrots and hawks have epignathous beaks. Given that epi- means “over,” what does epignathous literally translate to?

British Dictionary definitions for -gnathous


adj combining form
indicating or having a jaw of a specified kindprognathous

Word Origin for -gnathous

from New Latin -gnathus, from Greek gnathos jaw
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

Medical definitions for -gnathous


Characterized by a specified kind of jaw:anisognathous.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.