the·​ro·​pod | \ ˈthir-ə-ˌpäd How to pronounce theropod (audio) \
plural theropods

Definition of theropod

: any of a suborder (Theropoda) of carnivorous, bipedal, saurischian dinosaurs (such as a tyrannosaur or velociraptor) having hollow, thin-walled bones and usually small forelimbs

Note: Birds are descended from one lineage of small theropods.

Examples of theropod in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The exhibit features a skeleton and a lifelike replica of the 25-foot-long cryolophosaurus, the largest and most complete theropod from the Early Jurassic period ever found on Earth. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Oct. 2020 Coins featuring the Megalosaurus, a carnivorous theropod named by the British paleontologist William Buckland in 1824, are already available. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2020 This large theropod roamed what is now known as the American West roughly 67 million years ago, and its 188 bones represent one the most complete T. rex skeletons ever found. Kelly Crow, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2020 More importantly, Rauhut and Pol say, Asfaltovenator appears to display traits of more than one theropod lineage. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 May 2020 Incidentally, these birds, and therefore chickens, are said to be the closest extant relatives of the theropod dinosaurs (including T. rex). Quanta Magazine, 27 Mar. 2020 Sometime during the Jurassic period, around 165 million years ago, the earliest birds diverged from theropod dinosaurs. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2020 Left: Researchers at a camp near the Beardmore Glacier, where fossils from meat-eating theropods and plant-eating sauropods were found. Discover Magazine, 24 Jan. 2018 Previous work on theropod dinosaurs focused on the famous tyrannosaurs which replaced their teeth slowly. Riley Black, Smithsonian, 28 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'theropod.' 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 theropod

1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for theropod

New Latin Theropoda, from Greek thēr wild animal + pod-, pous foot — more at fierce, foot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About theropod

Time Traveler for theropod

Time Traveler

The first known use of theropod was in 1883

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near theropod




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for theropod

Cite this Entry

“Theropod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on theropod Encyclopedia article about theropod


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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