[ puh-ris-oh-dak-til ]

  1. having an uneven number of toes or digits on each foot.

  1. any mammal of the order Perissodactyla, comprising the odd-toed hoofed quadrupeds and including the tapirs, rhinoceroses, and horses.

Origin of perissodactyl

1840–50; <New Latin perissodactylus<Greek perissó(s) uneven, literally, beyond the norm, strange (derivative of périx (preposition and adv.) round about, akin to perí;see peri-) + -daktylos-dactylous
  • Also pe·ris·so·dac·tyle [puh-ris-oh-dak-til, -tahyl]. /pəˌrɪs oʊˈdæk tɪl, -taɪl/.

Other words from perissodactyl

  • pe·ris·so·dac·ty·lous, adjective

Words Nearby perissodactyl Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use perissodactyl in a sentence

  • In the year 1898 the family had to buy a new set of harness for the perissodactyl.

    Roads of Destiny | O. Henry
  • These animals, which are grouped with the horse among the odd-toed (perissodactyl) mammals, are now verging toward extinction.

    The Elements of Geology | William Harmon Norton
  • Or, to put it more definitely: hoofed animals are divided into two groups, even-toed (artiodactyl) and odd-toed (perissodactyl).

    Evolution | Joseph Le Conte
  • The great group is now usually divided into those that are odd-toed (perissodactyl) and those that are even-toed (Artiodactyl).

    The Chain of Life in Geological Time | Sir J. William Dawson
  • One leading to the existing perissodactyl foot, and the other, apparently later, resulting in the artiodactyl type.

British Dictionary definitions for perissodactyl


perissodactyle (pəˌrɪsəʊˈdæktaɪl)

/ (pəˌrɪsəʊˈdæktɪl) /

  1. any placental mammal of the order Perissodactyla, having hooves with an odd number of toes: includes horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses

  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the Perissodactyla

Origin of perissodactyl

C19: from New Latin perissodactylus, from Greek perissos uneven + daktulos digit

Derived forms of perissodactyl

  • perissodactylous, adjective

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 perissodactyl


[ pə-rĭs′ō-dăktəl ]

  1. Any of various hoofed mammals of the order Perissodactyla, having one or three hoofed toes on each hindfoot. During the Tertiary Period, perissodactyls were the dominant herbivorous fauna. Horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses are perissodactyls. Also called odd-toed ungulate

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