Share this entry

Share this page

marsupial

Line breaks: mar|su¦pial
Pronunciation: /mɑːˈsuːpɪəl
 
/
Zoology

Definition of marsupial in English:

noun

A mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly. Marsupials are found chiefly in Australia and New Guinea, and also in America.
Example sentences
  • So the extension of the term ‘marsupial’ is the set of all marsupials: kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and so on.
  • In South America and Australia, however, marsupials continued to be an important group of land mammals.
  • The egg-laying platypus and its cousin, the anteater, along with marsupials, make up the most primitive group of living mammals.

adjective

Back to top  
Relating to the marsupials.
Example sentences
  • The homology of the teeth in the marsupial dentition has been controversial and there are several alternate nomenclatures.
  • Many of the extinct marsupial megafauna were large, herbivorous browsers, some weighing several tons.
  • When we studied all the patterns of amino-acid replacement and silent substitution, we discovered several replacements that all placental and marsupial mammals share.

Origin

late 17th century (in the sense 'resembling a pouch'): from modern Latin marsupialis, via Latin from Greek marsupion 'pouch' (see marsupium).

Definition of marsupial in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day orthoepy
Pronunciation: ˈɔːθəʊɛpi
noun
the correct or accepted pronunciation of words