tar·​si·​er ˈtär-sē-ər How to pronounce tarsier (audio) -sē-ˌā How to pronounce tarsier (audio)
: any of a genus (Tarsius of the family Tarsiidae) of small chiefly nocturnal and arboreal carnivorous primates of the Malay Archipelago that have large round eyes, long legs, and a long nearly hairless tail

Examples of tarsier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This gives tarsiers excellent night vision, just at the expense of their ability to see color well. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2024 Animals renowned for their outstanding night vision include owls, cats, tarsiers (a tiny primate in Southeast Asia) -- and even the dung beetle. Matthew Solan, Chicago Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 Moving them would expel too much energy, so the tarsier has evolved a head capable of rotating 180 degrees. Holly Barker, Discover Magazine, 7 Oct. 2022 Because the fossil indicates that the tarsier and anthropoid primate groups split before that era, the anthropoid lineage is also at least that old, says Beard. Sid Perkins, Scientific American, 5 June 2013 By analyzing almost 1,200 morphological aspects of the fossil and comparing them to those of 156 other extant and extinct mammals, the team put the ancient primate near the base of the tarsier family tree. Sid Perkins, Scientific American, 5 June 2013 Sulawesi is home to species found nowhere else, including vibrant hornbills, miniature water buffalo, tusked deer-pigs and some tarsiers, a small, nocturnal primate. Ian Morse, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Nov. 2019

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

Word History


French, from tarse tarsus, from New Latin tarsus

First Known Use

circa 1774, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tarsier was circa 1774

Dictionary Entries Near tarsier

Cite this Entry

“Tarsier.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarsier. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


tar·​si·​er ˈtär-sē-ər How to pronounce tarsier (audio) -sē-ˌā How to pronounce tarsier (audio)
: any of several small tree-dwelling primate mammals of a group of islands of southeastern Asia that are related to the lemurs, are active at night, and have large eyes and a long tail

More from Merriam-Webster on tarsier

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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