co·​no·​dont ˈkō-nə-ˌdänt How to pronounce conodont (audio) ˈkä- How to pronounce conodont (audio)
: a Paleozoic toothlike fossil that is probably the remains of an extinct eellike marine animal that may be an invertebrate or primitive vertebrate
also : the animal from which conodonts are derived

Examples of conodont in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tully has been compared to gastropods (slugs and snails), conodonts (an extinct group of jawless vertebrates), polychaetes (segmented marine worms), nemerteans (ribbon worms), and nectocarids (a squid-like Cambrian organism) in the ensuing decades. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2023 What died: This was not a good time to be a conodont. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2022 Earlier researchers identified tiny teeth within some of the alien goldfish fossils, which led them to think the animal was an extinct eel-like fish called a conodont, per the Times. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Sep. 2022 Surrounding remains—fossils of tiny, extinct marine animals called graptolites and conodonts—served as biomarkers to help confirm when the early scorpions wandered the earth. Katie Camero, WSJ, 16 Jan. 2020 The event took its hardest toll on marine organisms such as corals, shelled brachiopods, eel-like creatures called conodonts, and the trilobites. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, 30 Sep. 2019 In several pulses across the Devonian, ocean oxygen levels dropped precipitously, which dealt serious blows to conodonts and ancient shelled relatives of squid and octopuses called goniatites. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, 30 Sep. 2019 One of the most important is the teeth of conodonts—extinct, eel-like creatures—which go back 520 million years. Rachel E. Gross, Smithsonian, 16 Apr. 2018 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from German Conodonten, plural, from Greek kônos "cone" + -odont- -odont + German -en, plural ending — more at cone entry 1

Note: The term was introduced by the Baltic German biologist Heinz Christian (Christian Heinrich) Pander (1794-1865) in Monographie der fossilen Fische des silurischen Systems der russisch-baltischen Gouvernements (St. Petersburg, 1856), p. 9, passim. In a section at the end of the work, "Etymologie der neuen Benennungen," Pander enters for Conodonten "ὁ κῶνος, der Kegel" ("ho kônos, the cone").

First Known Use

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conodont was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near conodont

Cite this Entry

“Conodont.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on conodont

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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