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

Definition of marsupial

 (Entry 1 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



Definition of marsupial (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Examples of marsupial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s what makes Anna Heusler’s good Samaritan encounter with one of Australia’s iconic marsupials so surprising. The Christian Science Monitor, "The ever-fresh promise of God’s goodness," 31 Dec. 2019 By contacting the facility and booking an encounter, guests can hang out with grizzly bears; feed lemurs, giraffes and parakeets; and meet a variety of marsupials. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "6 places in Indiana to hang out with wild animals this winter break," 17 Dec. 2019 But these toxic toads poisoned and devastated a number of species, including the curious-looking and carnivorous marsupial known as the northern quoll. Ashley Braun, Longreads, "Research and Rescue: Saving Species from Ourselves," 24 Oct. 2019 Origolestes is an ancestor to therian mammals, the group that includes all placentals and marsupials alive today. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Now Hear This: New Fossils Reveal Early Ear-Bone Evolution," 5 Dec. 2019 Several people in Australia have reported seeing Tasmanian tigers, a large, carnivorous marsupial that went extinct about 80 years ago, according to a government report. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Long-extinct Tasmanian tigers spotted at least eight times, officials say," 18 Oct. 2019 Officials estimate that as many as 350 of nearly 700 marsupials living in Port Macquarie perished in the blaze, which wiped out an estimated two-thirds of a local population’s habitat, or about 4,900 acres of land. Melissa Locker, Smithsonian, "Australia Faces ‘National Tragedy’ After Koala Population Takes Hit in Recent Brushfires," 15 Nov. 2019 The Tasmanian tiger, a striped marsupial carnivore, was thought to have gone extinct after Benjamin, believed to be the last member of the species, died in captivity in the Hobart Zoo in September 1936. Fox News, "Tasmanian tiger seen 80 years after it was thought to have gone extinct: report," 22 Oct. 2019 Almost all nocturnal animals, including bats and rodents and marsupials, were quickly losing their time to feed and forage without fear of exposure to predators., "In the meantime, I still relish my chances to take that college girlfriend, who is now my wife, and our two daughters out to the country and show them the lightshow and the galaxy that they are missing in the city.," 21 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective These marsupial herbivores diverged from kangaroos and wallabies 15 million years ago. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Ancient kangaroo had a koala-like face and jaws of steel," 11 Sep. 2019 In archival drawers were convict leg irons from the early 1800s, jars of antique marsupial specimens, copperplate etchings of native plants made by naturalists on Capt. David Maurice Smith, Smithsonian, "A 42,000-Year-Old Man Finally Goes Home," 23 Aug. 2019 These marsupial males have a lethal mating process. National Geographic, "This Father’s Day, meet 6 extreme animal dads," 14 June 2019 But Australian dung beetles were used to recycling marsupial dung and could not tackle the cow chips. Anne Sverdrup-thygeson, WSJ, "The Bugs We Can’t Live Without," 20 June 2019 According to the Florida zoo, the marsupial baby emerged from its mother’s pouch for the first time this week, offering keepers and guests their first peek at the first koala joey to be born at the zoo. Kelli Bender,, "Florida Zoo Koala Joey Emerges from Mother's Pouch for the First Time Looking Picture Perfect," 19 June 2019 This small marsupial synchronizes its fertility with fading light levels after the summer solstice, resulting in births six weeks afterward, and subsequent high demands on mothers when food resources are at their peak. Babak Tafreshi, National Geographic, "Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price," 3 Apr. 2019 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

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


1805, in the meaning defined above


1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for marsupial


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

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Time Traveler for marsupial

Time Traveler

The first known use of marsupial was in 1805

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Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Marsupial.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for marsupial


How to pronounce marsupial (audio)

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

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