[ pri-koh-shuh l ]
/ prɪˈkoʊ ʃəl /

adjective Biology.

(of an animal species) active and able to move freely from birth or hatching and requiring little parental care (opposed to altricial).

Origin of precocial

First recorded in 1870–75; precoci(ous) + -al1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for precocial

British Dictionary definitions for precocial

/ (prɪˈkəʊʃəl) /


(of the young of some species of birds after hatching) covered with down, having open eyes, and capable of leaving the nest within a few days of hatching


a precocial bird
Compare altricial

Word Origin for precocial

C19: see precocious
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 precocial

[ prĭ-kōshəl ]

Born or hatched in a condition requiring relatively little parental care, as by having hair or feathers, open eyes, and the ability to move about. Water birds, reptiles, and herd animals usually have precocial young. Compare altricial.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.