Definition of polydactyly in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌpäliˈdaktəlē/


A condition in which a person or animal has more than five fingers or toes on one, or on each, hand or foot.
Example sentences
  • The incidence of polydactyly (supernumerary digits of hands or feet) is the same in both sexes, with simultaneous polydactyly of the hands and feet present in about one third of cases.
  • True polydactyly more commonly occurs on the feet and may be present with malformation syndromes.
  • Since postaxial polydactyly is an autosomal dominant trait, we may hypothesize that the two people who had served as models for Raphael were relatives, probably father and son.



Pronunciation: /ˌpälēˈdaktl/
adjective& noun
Example sentences
  • Cats with this mutation are known as polydactyls (from the Latin for ‘many digits’), or as Hemingway cats.
  • For instance the limitation of digit number to a maximum of five among recent amniotes cannot be explained by a developmental constraint per se since polydactyl limbs appear quite frequently.
  • About half the cats are polydactyl, they and others are descendants of a six-toed cat given to Hemingway by a ship's captain.


Late 19th century: from Greek poludaktulos (from polu- 'many' + daktulos 'finger') + -y3.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pol·y·dac·ty·ly

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.