Share this entry

mammal Syllabification: mam·mal
Pronunciation: /ˈmaməl/

Definition of mammal in English:


A warm-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that is distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young.

The first small mammals evolved from reptiles about 200 million years ago, and the group diversified rapidly after the extinction of the dinosaurs to become the dominant form of land animal, with about 4,000 living species. Mammals belong to the class Mammalia, which contains the subclass Prototheria (monotremes) and the infraclasses Metatheria (marsupials) and Eutheria (placental mammals such as rodents, cats, whales, bats, and humans)

Example sentences
  • It provides the growing young with everything it wants, and only mammals produce milk.
  • The domestic animal is the first mammal known to die of the disease in Europe.
  • The male feeds the female while she incubates, catching small mammals and birds and bringing them back to the nest.


Early 19th century: anglicized form (first used in the plural) of modern Latin mammalia, neuter plural of Latin mammalis (adjective), from mamma 'breast' (see mamma2).

  • This is an anglicized form of modern Latin mammalia, from mamma ‘breast’, the ability to produce milk being one of the distinguishing features of mammals.



Pronunciation: /məˈmālēən/
Example sentences
  • They use any kind of island for nesting, as long as mammalian predators are absent.
  • They are also preyed upon by mammalian predators such as cats, and by snakes such as boas and anacondas.
  • Because of their offensive odor, skunks are rarely preyed on by mammalian predators.

Words that rhyme with mammal

camel, enamel, entrammel, trammel

Definition of mammal in:

Share this entry


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 ads and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhôdē
arrogantly superior and disdainful