saur·​is·​chi·​an (ˌ)sȯ-ˈri-skē-ən How to pronounce saurischian (audio)
: any of an order (Saurischia) of herbivorous or carnivorous dinosaurs that have the pubis of the pelvis typically pointed downward and forward and that include the sauropods and theropods compare ornithischian
saurischian adjective

Examples of saurischian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the saurischians and ornithischians are the two main branches with more specific lineages arrayed along them. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, 8 Dec. 2017 Theropods have traditionally been classed as saurischians. Carolyn Gramling, Science | AAAS, 15 Aug. 2017 Still, succeeding generations of paleontologists came to the consensus that Dinosauria is made up of the saurischian and ornithischian branches. Brian Switek, Scientific American Blog Network, 15 May 2017 In the old system, ornithischians were considered plant eaters while all the meat eating dinosaurs were saurischians, meaning that the trait of eating meat could have evolved after the two main branches of dinosaurs split. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 24 Mar. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'saurischian.' 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 Saurischia, ultimately from Greek sauros lizard + New Latin ischium ischium

First Known Use

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of saurischian was circa 1889

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Cite this Entry

“Saurischian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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