phalanger

noun
pha·​lan·​ger | \ fə-ˈlan-jər How to pronounce phalanger (audio) , ˈfā-ˌlan- How to pronounce phalanger (audio) \

Definition of phalanger

: any of various small to medium-sized marsupial mammals (family Phalangeridae and related families) of Australia and New Guinea that are chiefly arboreal and nocturnal and that include the possums (see possum sense 2) and cuscuses Well-developed prehensile tails, large and strong claws and a slow, deliberate way of moving have equipped them well for their lives aloft, making the phalangers the marsupial equivalent of monkeys, sloths and squirrels.— John Vandenbeld

First Known Use of phalanger

1770, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phalanger

New Latin, from Greek phalang-, phalanx

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about phalanger

Statistics for phalanger

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for phalanger

The first known use of phalanger was in 1770

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on phalanger

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about phalanger

Comments on phalanger

What made you want to look up phalanger? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!