elas·​mo·​branch i-ˈlaz-mə-ˌbraŋk How to pronounce elasmobranch (audio)
plural elasmobranchs
: any of a subclass (Elasmobranchii) of cartilaginous fishes that have five to seven lateral to ventral gill openings on each side and that comprise the sharks, rays, skates, and extinct related fishes
elasmobranch adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In fact, a recent study found that elasmobranch scientists believe that sustainable shark fishing is doable. Christie Wilcox, Discover Magazine, 24 Feb. 2016 Jasmin Graham specializes in elasmobranch ecology and evolution. Jennifer Maas, Variety, 16 June 2022 Before its placement onto the Endangered Species List in 2003, little was known about the elasmobranch, a subclass of fish comprised of sharks, rays, and skates. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Apr. 2021 Joining sharks and rays in the elasmobranch clan, sawfish are built over a cartilaginous frame that works in concert with a low profile and flat belly to allow efficient movement through whisper-thin depths. David A. Brown, Field & Stream, 13 Dec. 2019 The species, Pseudobatos buthi or the spadenose, is an elasmobranch, a group that includes the sharks, rays and skates. Danielle Hall, Smithsonian, 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elasmobranch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


ultimately from Greek elasmos metal plate (from elaunein) + branchia gills

First Known Use

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of elasmobranch was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near elasmobranch

Cite this Entry

“Elasmobranch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elasmobranch. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


elas·​mo·​branch i-ˈlaz-mə-ˌbraŋk How to pronounce elasmobranch (audio)
plural elasmobranchs
: any fish of the class Chondrichthyes
elasmobranch adjective

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