- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pterodactyl
I ponder the selection (pterodactyl, triceratops, etc) before settling on a T-Rex.Macaulay Culkin’s Life After Fame
June 19, 2012
An extinct pachyderm that flourished when the Pterodactyl was in fashion.The Devil's Dictionary
They cast doubt, that is, on the theory that the horse is descended from the pterodactyl.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
He was seated on a woody knoll skinning a pterodactyl for our supper.The Autobiography of Methuselah
John Kendrick Bangs
On some days I am to myself as strange and unfamiliar as a Pterodactyl.The Journal of a Disappointed Man
Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion
The pterodactyl of the chalk, a flying lizard, measures nearly seventeen feet from tip to tip of its wings.History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, Volume II (of 2)
John William Draper
- any extinct flying reptile of the genus Pterodactylus and related genera, having membranous wings supported on an elongated fourth digitSee also pterosaur
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
Word Origin and History for pterodactyl
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.