car·​ti·​lag·​i·​nous ˌkär-tə-ˈla-jə-nəs How to pronounce cartilaginous (audio)
: composed of, relating to, or resembling cartilage
The external nose has a cartilaginous framework.

Examples of cartilaginous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lack of Megalodon fossils According to the Smithsonian, sharks are cartilaginous, meaning their skeleton is entirely made up of cartilage. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 23 Jan. 2024 Experts principally work from teeth and vertebrae from the shark to estimate its size and proportions, which is common for prehistoric sharks, as their cartilaginous skeletons often decayed before fossilization. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Jan. 2024 Sharks are largely cartilaginous, a body structure that often doesn’t survive fossilization. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 6 July 2023 Sharks are considered to be a long-bodied marine fish with a cartilaginous skeleton and a prominent dorsal fin. Cortney Moore, Fox News, 13 Aug. 2023 Amphiarthroses are cartilaginous joints, two or more bones held so tightly together that only limited movement can take place, such as spinal vertebrae. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 June 2023 Whale sharks, which are cartilaginous, weigh about 11 tons, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY, 21 Oct. 2022 Also unlike mammals, the upper esophagus is not circled by cartilaginous rings, which explains how birds swallow whole, live fish with ease. Elsbeth Sites, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2015 Frogs that did not receive the progesterone treatment developed cartilaginous spikes at the amputation site, whereas ones that wore the hormone delivering bioreactor for one day regrew a paddle-shaped appendage. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 6 Nov. 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cartilaginous was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cartilaginous

Cite this Entry

“Cartilaginous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


car·​ti·​lag·​i·​nous ˌkärt-ᵊl-ˈaj-ə-nəs How to pronounce cartilaginous (audio)
: of, relating to, or resembling cartilage

Medical Definition


car·​ti·​lag·​i·​nous -nəs How to pronounce cartilaginous (audio)
: composed of, relating to, or resembling cartilage

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