Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun, pa·ta·gi·um \pə-ˈtā-jē-əm\

Definition of patagium

plural -gia \-jē-ə\

  1. 1 :  the fold of skin connecting the forelimbs and hind limbs of some tetrapods (as flying squirrels)

  2. 2 :  the fold of skin in front of the main segments of a bird's wing

Did You Know?

In Latin, patagium referred to a gold edging or border on a woman's tunic, but in English its uses have been primarily scientific. It entered the English language in the early 19th century and was used by entomologists to refer to a process on the back of the foremost segment of an insect. Zoologists borrowed it as a word for the fold of skin of "flying" mammals and reptiles. Then ornithologists took the word to higher heights by the century's end, applying it to the forward part of the wings of birds.

Illustration of patagium

Origin of patagium

New Latin, from Latin, gold edging on a tunic

First Known Use: 1826

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up patagium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!