[ ter-uh-dak-til ]
/ ˌtɛr əˈdæk tɪl /


any of a number of genera of flying reptiles of the extinct order Pterosauria, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, having a highly reduced tail and teeth and a birdlike beak.

Origin of pterodactyl

1820–30; < New Latin Pterodactylus genus name, equivalent to Greek pteró(n) wing + -daktylos -dactylous

Related forms

pter·o·dac·tyl·ic, pter·o·dac·tyl·ous, adjectivepter·o·dac·tyl·id, adjective, nounpter·o·dac·tyl·oid, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pterodactyl

British Dictionary definitions for pterodactyl


/ (ˌtɛrəˈdæktɪl) /


any extinct flying reptile of the genus Pterodactylus and related genera, having membranous wings supported on an elongated fourth digitSee also pterosaur

Word Origin for pterodactyl

C19: from ptero- + Greek daktulos finger
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

Science definitions for pterodactyl


[ tĕr′ə-dăktəl ]

Any of various small, extinct flying reptiles (pterosaurs) of the genus Pterodactylus of the late Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. Pterodactyls had long, narrow jaws with sharp teeth, and a wingspan of 1 m (3.3 ft) or less.

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