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 In 1991, Rabbit-Free Australia launched a campaign to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby, a bunny-sized marsupial. Samantha Lawyer, Woman's Day, "The History of the Easter Bunny is Almost as Cute as Spring's Furry Mascot," 26 Feb. 2021 Nor does any marsupial, explains Steve Sarro, curator of the small mammal house at the National Zoo. Natalie Hamilton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Will We Ever Send Humans to Venus?," 24 Feb. 2021 Nadia Tugwell, with her coat in hand, teamed up with a stranger clutching a blanket in a bid to capture the marsupial. Author: Rod Mcguirk, Anchorage Daily News, "Koala rescued after 5-car pileup on Australian freeway," 9 Feb. 2021 Nadia Tugwell, with her coat in hand, teamed up with a stranger clutching a blanket in a bid to capture the marsupial. Rod Mcguirk, Star Tribune, "Koala rescued after 5-car pileup on Australian freeway," 9 Feb. 2021 This furry Australian marsupial squeezes out nearly 100 six-sided turds every day—an ability that has long mystified scientists. Tess Joosse, Science | AAAS, "How do wombats poop cubes? Scientists get to the bottom of the mystery," 27 Jan. 2021 But this year, the carnivorous marsupial with its devilish scream made a small comeback in the state of New South Wales on the country’s east coast. Cat Kutz, Smithsonian Magazine, "These Conservation Stories Prove 2020 Was Not All Bad News," 14 Dec. 2020 The little marsupial wandered into the house and found a cozy new home among the ornaments, 9News reported. Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, Star Tribune, "News of the weird: Man walked (and walked) off his fight with wife," 11 Dec. 2020 One marsupial will be sporting some cozy winter threads this season. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Rare hairless opossum dropped at wildlife center gets ‘winter wardrobe’ of sweaters to survive the cold," 28 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That's how many new marsupial species scientists recently discovered in Australia. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for November 9: Biden, Election 2020, Covid-19, Alex Trebek, Bolivia," 9 Nov. 2020 Aerial bridges have been used in Peru, the U.K., India, Kenya, Brazil, Australia and other countries to help a diversity of animals ranging from marsupial gliders and squirrels to sloths and capuchin monkeys. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Rain Forest Canopy Bridges Aid Slow Lorises, Gibbons and Other Threatened Species," 2 Nov. 2020 The recent release brings the group of pioneering marsupial carnivores to 26 individuals in total. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "For the First Time in 3,000 Years, Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia," 6 Oct. 2020 The birds didn't have teeth and the bite marks from marsupial teeth don't match those on the bone. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "13 million-year-old bite marks on fossil reveal 'strongest bite force ever measured in the animal kingdom'," 25 Aug. 2020 But now, new research suggests that the marsupial sabertooth, Thylacosmilus atrox, was more likely a scavenger than a death-dealing predator. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Marsupial Sabertooth Was No Killer Cat," 31 July 2020 Members of conservation initiative Tropical Herping rediscovered the horned marsupial frog in 2018. Caitlin Etherton, National Geographic, "See 8 animal species that came back from the dead," 1 Mar. 2019 The dogs sniff for koala fur or the marsupial’s feces to locate them. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "Dogs help save koalas in Australian wildfires," 10 Jan. 2020 Other conservationists are in a frenzy searching for surviving Kangaroo Island dunnarts, another mouse-sized marsupial, which researchers say could also be facing extinction. Amy Gunia, Time, "This Marsupial Was Only Discovered 5 Years Ago. Climate Change and Australia's Bushfires Are Driving It to Extinction," 10 Jan. 2020

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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The first known use of marsupial was in 1805

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Last Updated

7 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Marsupial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for marsupial



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

More from Merriam-Webster on marsupial

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

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