noun pa·ta·gi·um \pə-ˈtā-jē-əm\

Definition of patagium



  1. 1 :  the fold of skin connecting the forelimbs and hind limbs of some tetrapods (as flying squirrels)

  2. 2 :  the fold of skin in front of the main segments of a bird's wing

patagium was our Word of the Day on 04/27/2012. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

In Latin, patagium referred to a gold edging or border on a woman's tunic, but in English its uses have been primarily scientific. It entered the English language in the early 19th century and was used by entomologists to refer to a process on the back of the foremost segment of an insect. Zoologists borrowed it as a word for the fold of skin of "flying" mammals and reptiles. Then ornithologists took the word to higher heights by the century's end, applying it to the forward part of the wings of birds.

Illustration of patagium

Origin and Etymology of patagium

New Latin, from Latin, gold edging on a tunic

First Known Use: 1857

Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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