1

fossa

play
noun fos·sa \ˈfä-sə\

Definition of fossa

plural

fossae

play \ˈfä-ˌsē, -ˌsī\
  1. :  an anatomical pit, groove, or depression

Origin and Etymology of fossa

New Latin, from Latin, ditch


First Known Use: 1733


2

fossa

noun fos·sa

Definition of fossa

  1. :  a slender, long-tailed, carnivorous mammal (Cryptoprocta ferox of the family Eupleridae) of Madagascar that has retractile claws, usually reddish-brown or sometimes black, short, thick fur, and anal scent glands The fossa evolved on the catless island of Madagascar, where it became the ecological equivalent of a cat. With nothing else around to fill the role, the fossa became a sort of mini-leopard, hunting lemurs and other small animals in the forest at night. — Fiona Sunquist

Illustration of fossa

Origin and Etymology of fossa

Malagasy


First Known Use: 1838


Medical Dictionary

fossa

play
noun fos·sa \ˈfäs-ə\

Medical Definition of fossa

plural

fossae

\-ˌē, -ˌī\play play
  1. :  an anatomical pit, groove, or depression the temporal fossa of the skull the fossa in the liver for the gallbladder

fossate

\-ˌāt\play adjective

Learn More about fossa


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a dividing ridge between drainage areas

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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