le·​mur | \ ˈlē-mər How to pronounce lemur (audio) \

Definition of lemur

: any of various arboreal diurnal or nocturnal, chiefly arboreal primates (superfamily Lemuroidea) of Madagascar and the Comoros Islands that usually have a longish muzzle, large eyes, very soft woolly fur, and a long furry tail and that feed on fruit and plant parts (such as leaves, flowers, and seeds) and sometimes insects and small animals

Note: Unlike most other primates, lemurs have a well-developed sense of smell. Physical and genetic characteristics indicate that all lemurs descended from a common prosimian ancestor that arrived in Madagascar approximately 55 to 60 million years ago.

Though matriarchy is rare in primates, female dominance is the norm for most lemur species.— Patricia Edmonds As a consequence of these activities and others, such as illicit hunting, most of the larger extant lemurs of Madagascar have very restricted ranges,— David A. Burney and Ross D. E. MacPhee … chimpanzees and sifakas, a species of lemur from Madagascar, are more active and show less stereotypical behavior when shifted from indoor to outdoor enclosures.— Jeffrey P. Cohn

Illustration of lemur

Illustration of lemur

Examples of lemur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Almost a third of all lemur species are now on the brink of extinction, including the Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur, the world’s smallest primate. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "World’s Smallest Primate Among New Animals Added to the List of Critically Endangered Species," 13 July 2020 Among them is the Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, the world's smallest primate at around nine centimeters long. Thomas Page, CNN, "European hamster, North Atlantic right whale among latest species to become critically endangered," 9 July 2020 In other words, A. latus, an agent of infectious disease, is the fungal equivalent of a human-lemur hybrid. Antonis Rokas, The Conversation, "A new hybrid fungus is found in hospitals and linked to lung disease," 4 June 2020 Similarly, the lemur gals didn’t show much interest in the three chemical scents presented separately. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Horny lemurs use body odor as a pick-up line," 28 Apr. 2020 Staff also wear masks and gloves when working with the lemurs, but those practices were in place before the coronavirus pandemic. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Animals stay fed and healthy while the Akron Zoo is closed due to coronavirus," 13 Apr. 2020 Primates vividly depicts the charismatic lineage that human beings belong to, with 400 species including apes, monkeys and lemurs. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "TikTok's Parent Company Takes BBC Content for China," 23 Apr. 2020 Its staff recently welcomed a newborn black wildebeest, crowned lemur and an Owston’s civet kitten, which was hand-reared by keepers — a first-time feat, according to the zoo. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "Hold on Tight! Newquay Zoo's New Baby Capuchin Monkey Loves Piggyback Rides from Mom," 7 Nov. 2019 Itinerary Itinerary Home to leaping lemurs and pinkie-sized chameleons, Madagascar is recognized by scientists as one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. National Geographic, "Madagascar Community Service: Biodiversity Protection," 10 Sep. 2019

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

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First Known Use of lemur

1795, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lemur

New Latin, from Latin lemures, plural, ghosts

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The first known use of lemur was in 1795

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Cite this Entry

“Lemur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lemur. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce lemur (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lemur

: an animal that is related to monkeys and that lives in trees mostly in Madagascar

More from Merriam-Webster on lemur

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lemur

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