chon·​drich·​thy·​an kän-ˈdrik-thē-ən How to pronounce chondrichthyan (audio)
variants or less commonly chondrichthian
plural chondrichthyans also chondrichthians
: a fish of the class Chondrichthyes : a cartilaginous fish
One quarter of all the world's cartilaginous fish species—known as chondrichthyans—are now threatened, reports a study published Tuesday in the journal eLife.Fabien Tepper, Christian Science Monitor, 23 Jan. 2014
Sharks, rays, and their less numerous kin the chimaeras, or ratfishes, are characterized by skeletons composed of cartilage rather than solid bone. (Collectively, they are known as chondrichthyans; bony fishes are the osteichthyans.)John G. Maisey, Natural History, June 1998
chondrichthyan adjective
or less commonly chondrichthian
chondrichthyan fishes

Word History

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chondrichthyan was in 1963

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near chondrichthyan

Cite this Entry

“Chondrichthyan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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