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a combining form meaning “having wings” of the kind or number specified: dipterous.
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Origin of -pterous

<Greek -pteros, adj. derivative of pterón wing; see -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -pterous mean?

The combining form -pterous is used like a suffix meaning “having wings” of a certain number or type. It is often used in scientific terms, especially in zoology. Very occasionally, -pterous refers to fins.

The form -pterous comes from the Greek pterón, meaning “feather” or “wing.” And yes, pterodactyl also comes from the Greek pterón. Find out the connection at our entry for the impressive name of this ancient winged reptile.

Other combining forms closely related to -pterous include ptero-, pter-, and -pter. Discover their over-flapping—er, overlapping—senses at our Words That Use articles for the words. Also related to -pterous is pterygo-, connected to pterygoid, and pterido-, which is used for ferns.

Examples of -pterous

The word brachypterous, meaning “having short wings,” is an example of a scientific term that features the combining form -pterous.

The first part of the word, brachy-, means “short.” As we now know, -pterous means “having wings.” Brachypterous literally translates to “short-winged.” Greek roots can really help your word skills take flight!

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

Many words in English that contain -pterous actually derive from the equivalent form of -pterous in Greek or Latin, as noted below.

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

Break it down!

The combining form macro- means “large.” With this in mind, what does macropterous mean?

British Dictionary definitions for -pterous



adj combining form
indicating a specified number or type of wingsdipterous

Word Origin for -pterous

from Greek -pteros, from pteron wing
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