al·​tri·​cial | \ al-ˈtri-shəl How to pronounce altricial (audio) \

Definition of altricial

: being hatched or born or having young that are hatched or born in a very immature and helpless condition so as to require care for some time altricial birds — compare precocial

Examples of altricial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Robins, bluebirds, hummingbirds and many other birds are altricial. Jim Robbins, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Jan. 2022 If birds are born altricial — helpless — clutches tend to be small to accommodate the higher level of care the babies must receive. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, 29 June 2021 That’s because both marmosets and humans have altricial babies, from the Latin for needing nourishment—meaning offspring that can’t take care of themselves even a tiny bit at the beginning. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 27 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'altricial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of altricial

1869, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for altricial

Latin altric-, altrix, feminine of altor one who nourishes, from alere to nourish — more at old

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The first known use of altricial was in 1869

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Cite this Entry

“Altricial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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