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 Man accused of stealing S.F. lemur could face a year behind bars. Taylor Kate Brown, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 June 2021 The lemur, who was hungry, dehydrated and agitated, was rescued and returned to the San Francisco Zoo, prosecutors said. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 22 June 2021 The blaze killed about 75 animals, including birds, turtles, a tortoise, a lemur, baby alligators, snakes, guinea pigs and others. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 3 May 2021 The finding not only increases scientific knowledge of animal hibernation, but, as humans' closest hibernating relative, the lemur can help researchers study how hibernation can be beneficial and replicated in humans. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Apr. 2021 Commit to the full amount and earn the VIP honor of picking your individual lemur. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2021 Before the pandemic, tourism was a cornerstone of Madagascar’s economy, supporting more than 300,000 jobs, and lemur-watching was popular. Dina Fine Maron, Animals, 14 Dec. 2020 As a result, the team was able to determine that this particular lemur is a separate species based on its distinct genetic makeup and some outward characteristics such as coloration and ear size. Cat Kutz, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, in another picture, Turner can be seen holding a lemur. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 Dec. 2020

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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Last Updated

30 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lemur.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lemur. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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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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