[ al-trish-uhl ]

adjectiveZoology.(of an animal species)
  1. helpless at birth or hatching and requiring parental care for a period of time (opposed to precocial.)

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Origin of altricial

1870–75; <Latin altrīc-, stem of altrīx wet nurse, nourisher (al(ere) to nourish (cf. aliment) + -trīx-trix) + -al1

Words Nearby altricial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use altricial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for altricial


/ (ælˈtrɪʃəl) /

  1. (of the young of some species of birds after hatching) naked, blind, and dependent on the parents for food

  1. an altricial bird, such as a pigeon

Origin of altricial

C19: from New Latin altriciālis, from Latin altrix a nurse, from alere to nourish

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

Scientific definitions for altricial


[ ăl-trĭshəl ]

  1. Born or hatched in a helpless condition requiring prolonged parental care, as by being naked, blind, or unable to move about. Nesting birds, monotremes, marsupials, and carnivores have altricial young. Compare precocial.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.