1. any mammal of the order Perissodactyla, comprising the odd-toed hoofed quadrupeds and including the tapirs, rhinoceroses, and horses.
Also pe·ris·so·dac·tyle [puh-ris-oh-dak-til, -tahyl] /pəˌrɪs oʊˈdæk tɪl, -taɪl/.
Compare artiodactyl.

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
Related formspe·ris·so·dac·ty·lous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perissodactyl

Historical Examples of perissodactyl

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

  • The fifth digit, for the same reasons as in the perissodactyl foot, first left the ground and became smaller.

  • The great group is now usually divided into those that are odd-toed (Perissodactyl) and those that are even-toed (Artiodactyl).

  • 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).


    Joseph Le Conte

British Dictionary definitions for perissodactyl


perissodactyle (pəˌrɪsəʊˈdæktaɪl)

  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
Derived Formsperissodactylous, adjective

Word Origin for perissodactyl

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

perissodactyl in Science


  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.