pha·​lan·​ger fə-ˈlan-jər How to pronounce phalanger (audio) ˈfā-ˌlan- How to pronounce phalanger (audio)
: 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

Word History


New Latin, from Greek phalang-, phalanx

First Known Use

1770, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phalanger was in 1770

Dictionary Entries Near phalanger

Cite this Entry

“Phalanger.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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