• synonyms


[tahr-see-er, -see-ey]
  1. a small, arboreal, nocturnal primate of the genus Tarsius, of Indonesia and the Philippines, having a long thin tail, very large immobile eyes, and prominent pads on the fingers and toes: all populations are dwindling.
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Origin of tarsier

1765–75; < French, equivalent to tarse tarsus + -ier -ier2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tarsier

Historical Examples of tarsier

  • Altogether, the tarsier scarcely looks like an animal at all.

    The Animal World, A Book of Natural History

    Theodore Wood

  • The Tarsier seldom makes any kind of noise, but when it does emit a sound, it is a sharp, shrill call.

  • Contrary to what is found in many Lemurs, the Tarsier is a silent creature, and at most emits a "sharp, shrill call."

  • They looked something like the eyes of an Earthian tarsier, but the tarsier were bloody little beasts.

  • A little animal, the Tarsier, which is found on the islands of Celebes and Borneo, is very exceptional in its structure.

British Dictionary definitions for tarsier


  1. any of several nocturnal arboreal prosimian primates of the genus Tarsius, of Indonesia and the Philippines, having huge eyes, long hind legs, and digits ending in pads to facilitate climbing: family Tarsiidae
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Word Origin for tarsier

C18: from French, from tarse the flat of the foot; see tarsus
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