chon·​drich·​thy·​an | \ kän-ˈdrik-thē-ən How to pronounce chondrichthyan (audio) \
variants: or less commonly chondrichthian
plural chondrichthyans also chondrichthians

Definition of chondrichthyan

: 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

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!

Other Words from chondrichthyan

chondrichthyan or less commonly chondrichthian adjective
chondrichthyan fishes

First Known Use of chondrichthyan

1963, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chondrichthyan

Time Traveler for chondrichthyan

Time Traveler

The first known use of chondrichthyan was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chondrichthyan

Cite this Entry

“Chondrichthyan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2020.

Comments on chondrichthyan

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


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!