ptero·​saur ˈter-ə-ˌsȯr How to pronounce pterosaur (audio)
: any of an order (Pterosauria) of extinct flying reptiles existing from the Late Triassic throughout the Jurassic and most of the Cretaceous and having a featherless wing membrane extending from the side of the body along the arm to the end of the greatly elongated fourth digit

Examples of pterosaur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because feathers are seen in pterosaurs and dinosaurs, researchers suspect a common ancestor predating them roamed the Earth. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024 This discovery augments an ever-growing number of dinosaur and pterosaur predecessor fossils out of South America. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 16 Aug. 2023 Actually bigger than that of the first dinosaurs and similar to that of the first pterosaurs. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 16 Aug. 2023 For example, flying pterosaurs are presumed to have been brightly colored but have not been examined in detail. Riley Black, Scientific American, 14 Dec. 2023 While the creature sits close to both lineages, a few hallmarks — such as the pelvis — resemble those from dinosaurs and pterosaurs more closely than crocodilians, and the muscle scars on the femur also position the specimen closer to the dino side. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 15 Aug. 2023 The area holds a cache of life-like remains of animals including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, early birds and mammals, turtles, lizards, freshwater fish, frogs, plants and insects that were buried by airborne volcanic debris and ash. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 July 2023 Though not the biggest pterosaur to ever live, Pteranodons were larger than Pterodactyls. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 27 June 2023 These giant pterosaurs — the largest yet discovered — likely fed on fish and small aquatic prey, living their lives like massive, modern-day herons, according to a press release from the Natural History Museum in London. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pterosaur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin Pterosauria, from Greek pteron wing + sauros lizard

First Known Use

1863, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pterosaur was in 1863

Dictionary Entries Near pterosaur

Cite this Entry

“Pterosaur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ptero·​saur ˈter-ə-ˌsȯ(ə)r How to pronounce pterosaur (audio)

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