chi·​rop·​ter·​an | \ kī-ˈräp-tə-rən How to pronounce chiropteran (audio) \

Definition of chiropteran

Did You Know?

Chiroptera is the name of the order of the only mammal capable of true flight, the bat. The name is influenced by the hand-like wings of bats, which are formed from four elongated "fingers" covered by a cutaneous membrane. It is based on the Greek words for "hand," "cheir," and "wing," "pteron." "Cheir" also had a hand in the formation of the word surgery, which is ultimately derived from the ancient word cheirourgos, meaning "doing by hand." "Pteron" is widely used in technical names of flying insects. It’s also the ancestor of a well-known, common word: "helicopter," which joins "pteron" with Greek heliko, meaning "spiral."

First Known Use of chiropteran

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chiropteran

ultimately from Greek cheir hand + pteron wing — more at feather

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chiropteran

Listen to Our Podcast about chiropteran

Statistics for chiropteran

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chiropteran

The first known use of chiropteran was in 1835

See more words from the same year

Comments on chiropteran

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


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!