Prosody. a foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short in quantitative meter, or one stressed followed by two unstressed in accentual meter, as in gently and humanly. Symbol:
a finger or toe.

Nearby words

  1. dacryoscintigraphy,
  2. dacryosolenitis,
  3. dacryostenosis,
  4. dacryosyrinx,
  5. dactinomycin,
  6. dactylic,
  7. dactylitis,
  8. dactylo-,
  9. dactylogram,
  10. dactylography

Origin of dactyl

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin dactylus < Greek dáktylos finger, a dactyl, referring to the three joints of the finger


or Dak·tyl


noun, plural Dac·tyls, Dac·tyl·i [dak-ti-lahy] /ˈdæk tɪˌlaɪ/. Classical Mythology.

any of a number of beings dwelling on Mount Ida and working as metalworkers and magicians.

Origin of Dactyl

< Greek Dáktyloi (Idaîoi) (Idaean) craftsmen or wizards (plural of dáktylos; see dactyl)


a combining form meaning “finger,” “toe,” used in the formation of compound words: dactylomegaly.
Also dactyl-.

Origin of dactylo-

< Greek, combining form representing dáktylos finger, toe


variant of -dactylous, especially with nouns: pterodactyl.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dactyl

British Dictionary definitions for dactyl



Also called: dactylic prosody a metrical foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short (– ◡ ◡)Compare bacchius
zoology any digit of a vertebrate

Word Origin for dactyl

C14: via Latin from Greek daktulos finger, dactyl, comparing the finger's three joints to the three syllables


before a vowel dactyl-

combining form

finger or toedactylogram

Word Origin for dactylo-

from Greek daktulos finger

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

Word Origin and History for dactyl



metrical foot, late 14c., from Greek dactylos, literally "finger" (also "toe"), of unknown origin; the metrical use (a long syllable followed by two short ones) is by analogy with the three joints of a finger.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for dactyl




A finger or toe; digit.




The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.