• synonyms


[mahr-soo-pee-uh l]
See more synonyms for marsupial on Thesaurus.com
  1. any viviparous, nonplacental mammal of the order Marsupialia, comprising the opossums, kangaroos, wombats, and bandicoots, the females of most species having a marsupium containing the mammary glands and serving as a receptacle for the young.
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  1. pertaining to, resembling, or having a marsupium.
  2. of or relating to the marsupials.
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Origin of marsupial

First recorded in 1690–1700, marsupial is from the New Latin word marsupiālis pertaining to a pouch. See marsupium, -al1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for marsupial


  1. any mammal of the order Marsupialia, in which the young are born in an immature state and continue development in the marsupium. The order occurs mainly in Australia and South and Central America and includes the opossums, bandicoots, koala, wombats, and kangaroos
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  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the Marsupialia
  2. of or relating to a marsupium
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Derived Formsmarsupialian (mɑːˌsjuːpɪˈeɪlɪən, -ˌsuː-) or marsupian, noun, adjective

Word Origin

C17: see marsupium
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 marsupial


1690s, with -al (1) + Modern Latin marsupialis "having a pouch," coined from Late Latin marsupium "pouch, purse" (Classical Latin marsuppium), from Greek marsipion, diminutive of marsipos "bag, pouch," of foreign, possibly oriental, origin. As a noun from 1805.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

marsupial in Science


  1. Any of various mammals of the order Marsupialia, whose young are very undeveloped when born and continue developing outside their mother's body attached to one of her nipples. Most marsupials have longer hindlegs than forelimbs, and the females usually have pouches in which they carry their young. Kangaroos, opossums, and koalas are marsupials.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.