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


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

Examples of marsupial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
November 3, 2023 The Texas Tech Football account encouraged fans to engage with the new good luck charm online, posting a photo of the marsupial with its teeth bared and claws digging into the turf. Kaetlyn Liddy, NBC News, 3 Nov. 2023 The southern marsupial mole was found to have fluorescent fur, but the species is blind, writes the Guardian. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Oct. 2023 Standing around three feet high, the modern koala is roughly 25 pounds of claws and teeth, tufty ears and fluffy white marsupial tummy. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 After dodging animal control, the marsupial was eventually dragged away by animal control with a catch pole. Lizzy Rosenberg, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 The site is famous for delivering discoveries of several species of ancient marsupial over the years, all of which would’ve enjoyed the lush vegetation and leafy abundance of New Guinean rainforest environments. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2022 These large, striped marsupials once lived across Australia, but as of around 2,000 years ago, they had been confined to the island of Tasmania—perhaps due to competition with dingoes and hunting by humans. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2023 It’s meant to develop in small mammals and marsupials. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 29 Aug. 2023 Somewhere between 65 million and 50 million years ago, Australian marsupials, known as diprotodontians, set off on a different evolutionary track from those located elsewhere in the world. Natasha Frost, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023
According to an October 2018 study published in the journal Nature, the marsupial lion, who depended on the forest to ambush its prey, likely went extinct because of climate change, and Nimbadon might have faced the same end. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 The striped, marsupial predator, and largest of its kind, moved at a slow, stiff-legged pace through the grasslands of Australia, hunting singly or in pairs. Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 19 Apr. 2023 Species like the marsupial lion, the giant eagle and the Megalania also blinked out of the fossil record around this time. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 28 June 2023 Only one of these is a metatherian; these marsupial ancestors, once so abundant in the Cretaceous, were nearly extinguished. Steve Brusatte, Scientific American, 1 June 2022 Belov had just earned her Ph.D. showing that marsupial immune systems were vigorous, much like humans’. Julie Rehmeyer, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2014 The current plan calls for taking stem cells from the living dasyurid, or dunnart—a marsupial relative that bears basically no resemblance to the thylacine (think: mouse-like dunnart vs. wolf-like Tasmanian tiger)—and then editing genes to get as close to a new thylacine as possible. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 22 Aug. 2022 According to a release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Bear, the dog who earned admiration during Australia's 2019-2020 wildfire season for his work saving koalas, recently received a special honor for his marsupial rescue work. Kelli Bender,, 25 Oct. 2021 The show follows the story of three spunky marsupial siblings as their adventures lead them to new heights and new opportunities for learning. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'marsupial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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


borrowed from New Latin marsūpiālis — more at marsupial entry 1

First Known Use


1805, in the meaning defined above


1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of marsupial was in 1805

Dictionary Entries Near marsupial

Cite this Entry

“Marsupial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
mar·​su·​pi·​al mär-ˈsü-pē-əl How to pronounce marsupial (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a marsupial


2 of 2 noun
: any of an order of mammals (as kangaroos and opossums) that have a pouch on the abdomen of the female containing the teats and serving to carry the young

More from Merriam-Webster on marsupial

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