mar·​su·​pi·​al | \ mär-ˈsü-pē-əl How to pronounce marsupial (audio) \

Definition of marsupial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a marsupial
2 : of, relating to, or forming a marsupium



Definition of marsupial (Entry 2 of 2)

: any of an order (Marsupialia) of mammals comprising kangaroos, wombats, bandicoots, opossums, and related animals that do not develop a true placenta and that usually have a pouch on the abdomen of the female which covers the teats and serves to carry the young

Examples of marsupial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And unlike any other creature in the animal kingdom, this marsupial poops cubes. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "BREAKING: Mystery of Square Wombat Poop Revealed," 20 Nov. 2018 The eastern quoll, a cat-sized marsupial with pointy ears and speckled fur, was once found throughout south-eastern Australia. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Endangered Eastern Quolls Are Born on Mainland Australia for the First Time in 50 Years," 10 July 2018 The game is priced nicely, features a jovial, marsupial protagonist with a manic personality, and was an essential part of PlayStation history. Harold Goldberg,, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 The comprehensive study — the best quality marsupial genome sequence to date — was undertaken in order to highlight the importance of conservation and the role genetic diversity plays within that. Stephanie Bedo, Fox News, "The secrets that could save koalas," 4 July 2018 The Tasmanian tiger, known to science as the thylacine, was the only member of its genus of marsupial carnivores to live to modern times. Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker, "The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger," 16 Jan. 2012 About 23 million years ago in Australia, a marsupial lion lived in the open forest and spent part of its life in trees. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet the top 10 new species of 2018," 23 May 2018 Around 23 million years ago, during the late Oligocene era, this marsupial lion roamed in northwestern Queensland, Australia. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "A 62-Ton Tree and Great Ape Have Made the Top 10 New Species List," 23 May 2018 When a deputy arrived at the scene there was indeed a marsupial wandering around rural Palmetto State County. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "South Carolina sheriff's office responds to calls of kangaroo sighting: 'I thought dispatch was joking'," 16 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When Prince George— then just nine months old—was photographed with a cute bilby, a native marsupial, at Taronga Zoo in Sydney during the Cambridges’ 2014 tour, he was dubbed the republican slayer. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Tour of Australia Is Crucial to the Future of the Monarchy," 1 Nov. 2018 The facial cancer, which spreads when the marsupials bite each other’s faces during fighting, kills the animals within months. Fox News, "Tasmanian devils face new cancer threat for survival in the wild," 15 Aug. 2018 Kangaroos and other marsupials develop differently from most mammals, splitting the developmental process that usually happens in the womb into two. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Why Rescued Kangaroo Joeys Need Handmade Pouches," 13 June 2018 This marsupial ate both meat and plants, and spent part of its days up in the trees. Sean Greene,, "A rare great ape, a 130-foot-tall tree and an extinct marsupial lion make the Top 10 New Species list for 2018," 23 May 2018 This abuse was part of a larger prejudice against marsupials that is sometimes called placental chauvinism. Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker, "The Obsessive Search for the Tasmanian Tiger," 16 Jan. 2012 The koala challenges the kangaroo as the most iconic Australian marsupial. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, "Koala genome shows how the adorable marsupial lives on eucalyptus leaves," 2 July 2018 All told, Australia’s iconic tree-dwelling marsupial is in serious trouble. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Can the Koala Genome Save the Species From Deforestation and Chlamydia?," 2 July 2018 Koalas are some of the most beloved creatures in the animal kingdom—with their soft gray fur and cherubic faces, the marsupials exude enough charm to sustain a $1.1 billion tourism industry in their home country of Australia. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Newly Mapped Koala Genome Unlocks Secrets of Marsupial’s Diet, Susceptibility to Chlamydia," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marsupial.' 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 marsupial


1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1805, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for marsupial


borrowed from New Latin marsūpiālis — more at marsupial entry 2


from the base of New Latin Marsupialia, order name, from neuter plural of marsūpiālis "of a pouch," from marsūpium "pouch, marsupium" + -ālis -al entry 1

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Time Traveler for marsupial

The first known use of marsupial was in 1805

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English Language Learners Definition of marsupial

: a type of animal (such as a kangaroo or an opossum) that carries its babies in a pocket of skin on the mother's stomach


mar·​su·​pi·​al | \ mär-ˈsü-pē-əl How to pronounce marsupial (audio) \

Kids Definition of marsupial

: a mammal (as a kangaroo or opossum) that does not develop a true placenta and usually has a pouch on the female's abdomen in which the young develop and are carried

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More from Merriam-Webster on marsupial

Spanish Central: Translation of marsupial

Nglish: Translation of marsupial for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about marsupial

Comments on marsupial

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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