ar·​chae·​op·​ter·​yx ˌär-kē-ˈäp-tə-riks How to pronounce archaeopteryx (audio)
: a primitive crow-sized bird (genus Archaeopteryx) of the Upper Jurassic period of Europe having reptilian characteristics (such as teeth and a long bony tail)

Examples of archaeopteryx in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Germany is also famous for some of the most spectacular dinosaur and winged reptile fossils in the world, including the archaeopteryx. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 20 June 2018 Twelve fossils of archaeopteryx have been found, the first discovered in the late 19th century by famed German paleontologist Hermann von Meyer. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, 30 Sep. 2020 The fossil was discovered in the Solnhofen limestones in Bavaria, Germany, famous for the discovery of the first archaeopteryx and other shark and ray skeletons. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, 18 Jan. 2021 Separately in October, researchers declared that the first-ever dinosaur feather discovered does indeed belong to the archaeopteryx, putting an end to a controversy that has waged within the scientific community for more than 100 years. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, 17 Dec. 2020 Hoatzins are loud, conspicuous, freaky-looking, fairly common birds best known for having chicks with claws on their wings like archaeopteryx. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, 28 Oct. 2019 For decades, paleontologists’ only fossil link between birds and dinosaurs was archaeopteryx, a hybrid creature with feathered wings but with the teeth and long bony tail of a dinosaur. Quanta Magazine, 2 June 2015 Some coelurosaurs started shrinking as far back as 200 million years ago — 50 million years before archaeopteryx emerged. Quanta Magazine, 2 June 2015 The highlight was the center’s most valuable display: a fossilized archaeopteryx from some 150 million years ago, one of 10 in the world (the others are all in Europe). Rachel Walker, idahostatesman, 12 May 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'archaeopteryx.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from archae- + Greek pteryx wing; akin to Greek pteron wing — more at feather

First Known Use

1862, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of archaeopteryx was in 1862

Dictionary Entries Near archaeopteryx

Cite this Entry

“Archaeopteryx.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​chae·​op·​ter·​yx ˌär-kē-ˈäp-tə-riks How to pronounce archaeopteryx (audio)
: a primitive extinct bird of the Jurassic period of geological history in Europe having characteristics (as teeth) of a reptile as well as wings and feathers

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