• synonyms


adjective Also pol·y·dac·tyl·ous.
  1. having many or several digits.
  2. having more than the normal number of fingers or toes.
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  1. a polydactyl animal.
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Origin of polydactyl

From the Greek word polydáktylos, dating back to 1860–65. See poly-, -dactyl
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for polydactyl

Historical Examples

  • Let us consider next what happens when a polydactyl individual is crossed with a normal individual.

    Inheritance of Characteristics in Domestic Fowl

    Charles Benedict Davenport

  • It is also clear that the offspring of Silkie crosses are more apt to be polydactyl than those of Houdan crosses.

  • This inquiry is suggested by Castle's study (1906, p. 20) of polydactyl guinea-pigs.

British Dictionary definitions for polydactyl


adjective Also: polydactylous
  1. (of man and other vertebrates) having more than the normal number of digits
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  1. a human or other vertebrate having more than the normal number of digits
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Word Origin

C19: via French from Greek poludactulos many-toed; see dactyl
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 polydactyl


1894, from French polydactyle (adj.) "having more fingers and toes than is usual," from Greek polydaktylos; see poly- + dactyl. As an adjective from 1874. Related: Polydactyly; polydactylism (1868).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polydactyl in Medicine


  1. Having more than the normal number of digits on a hand or foot.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.