ptero·​dac·​tyl | \ ˌter-ə-ˈdak-tᵊl How to pronounce pterodactyl (audio) \

Definition of pterodactyl

: any of various pterosaurs (suborder Pterodactyloidea) of the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous having a rudimentary tail and a beak with reduced dentition broadly : pterosaur

Examples of pterodactyl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Or when Yaba Daba Doo’s pterodactyl wings blew off before leaving the barge. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Minneapolis’ ‘Spooner’s Revenge’ wins Red Bull Flugtag event after placing second in 2010," 7 Sep. 2019 A half-shark, half-octopus battles a half-pterodactyl, half-barracuda. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 Jurassic Park’ Tale of the tape: Rodan is the pterodactyl-like firebird who emerges from a volcano and doles out some sick burns for his opponents. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Cage fight! We pit Godzilla's monster squad against pop culture's biggest and baddest," 28 May 2019 In 2002 researchers discovered in the Transylvania region of Romania what may have been the world’s largest pterodactyl. Natalie Angier, The New York Review of Books, "Serengeti on the Seine," 9 May 2019 Who could forget Tommy Heinsohn throwing punches with a pterodactyl? Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "How the Warriors, Cavaliers are linked in history," 30 May 2018 Image Blessed with a spectacular talent, a 7-foot-3 hybrid of a shooting guard and a pterodactyl defender, most teams would craft a team and organizational philosophy around him. Michael Powell, New York Times, "David Fizdale Is Totally Going to Save the Knicks," 4 May 2018 Or just hang out at the infinity pool and watch the soaring pterodactyl-like frigate birds, or look for geckos while performing mojito quality checks on the latest shipment of mint. By Brian Melton, star-telegram, "Can You Belize It? Tropical wonderland offers getaway for all types of travelers," 6 Sep. 2017 There is now, as well, a lottery pick point guard on the team — the intriguing Frank Ntilikina, a 6-5 French teenager with a pterodactyl’s wingspan. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Zen Phil Is Gone, but All Is Not Lost for Knicks," 28 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pterodactyl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pterodactyl

1829, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pterodactyl

New Latin Pterodactylus, genus of reptiles, from Greek pteron wing + daktylos finger — more at feather

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pterodactyl

Statistics for pterodactyl

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pterodactyl

The first known use of pterodactyl was in 1829

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pterodactyl



English Language Learners Definition of pterodactyl

: a large flying animal that lived long ago when dinosaurs were alive


ptero·​dac·​tyl | \ ˌter-ə-ˈdak-tᵊl How to pronounce pterodactyl (audio) \

Kids Definition of pterodactyl

: a very large extinct flying reptile that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs

More from Merriam-Webster on pterodactyl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pterodactyl Encyclopedia article about pterodactyl

Comments on pterodactyl

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


friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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