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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Soon, the marsupials that eat undesirable insects, snails and slugs were replaced with tree-climbing raccoons that dug up Coates’ flower bulbs and rinsed them in his birdbath before eating them. Janet Eastman,, "What to do about cougars in the neighborhood, skunks under the house, bats in the attic," 19 July 2019 Inside the kitchen Two refrigerators face each other inside the marsupial care building’s kitchen. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Roos, geese, and a blue-tongued lizard: Behind the scenes at San Diego Zoo Safari Park," 8 June 2019 The miniature marsupials are quite prolific on the bikeable island off Perth’s coast, a half-hour ferry ride. Kathryn Romeyn, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood's Travel Guide to Western Australia," 16 July 2019 The marsupial, native to Australia, is listed as vulnerable by the ICUN Red List. Kelli Bender,, "Florida Zoo Koala Joey Emerges from Mother's Pouch for the First Time Looking Picture Perfect," 19 June 2019 As marsupials, tree kangaroos give birth to babies the size of lima beans, that resemble partially developed fetuses. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Roos, geese, and a blue-tongued lizard: Behind the scenes at San Diego Zoo Safari Park," 8 June 2019 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

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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20 Jul 2019

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of marsupial

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

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