tri·​cer·​a·​tops | \ (ˌ)trī-ˈser-ə-ˌtäps How to pronounce triceratops (audio) \
plural triceratops also triceratopses\ (ˌ)trī-​ˈser-​ə-​ˌtäp-​səz How to pronounce triceratops (audio) \

Definition of triceratops

: any of a genus (Triceratops) of large herbivorous quadrupedal ceratopsian dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous with three horns, a bony hood or crest on the neck, and hoofed toes

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The name triceratops, meaning literally "three-horned face", refers to the two horns above its eyes and the smaller third horn on its snout. Just as striking was the frilled hood or ruff that rose behind its head, though no one is quite sure what it was for. The triceratops was one of the last dinosaurs to evolve and also one of the last to become extinct. It could reach lengths of 30 feet and could stand nearly eight feet high. Despite its ferocious looks and three-foot-long horns, the triceratops was actually a vegetarian.

Examples of triceratops in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There's also a brief cameo by Trevorrow's son, who also popped up in the beginning of the original Jurassic World as the kid riding a triceratops. Devan Coggan,, 10 June 2021 Families can interact with animatronic dinos including herrerasaurus, amargasaurus, iguanodon, neovenator, oviraptor, protoceratops, velociraptor, hadrosaur, leallynasaura, minmi, Spinosaurus, triceratops and the ever-popular Tyrannosaurus rex. Susan Dunne,, 13 Apr. 2021 An ill triceratops turns out to have eaten a poisonous plant that no one on the park staff thought twice about planting. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 8 Apr. 2021 The team was following up after alumni, students and Schmidt uncovered the tip of a triceratops horn last summer — which a local rancher had originally found poking out of the earth. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 26 Aug. 2020 In 2017, a fossilized triceratops skull was found at a construction site in Thornton, Colorado. Fox News, 25 June 2019 The fossilized remains of a dinosaur that was discovered at a Colorado construction site last month have been identified as a triceratops. Fox News, 25 June 2019 In 2017, horned dinosaur fossils were uncovered at Thornton, a Denver construction site, and were revealed to belong to a triceratops relative, the torosaurus. Erin Davis And Brian Ries, CNN, 21 June 2019 No doubt that a triceratops would be quite the asset on the football field, but its hard to 'beat' our Giant Heart. Tom Avril,, 1 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of triceratops

1892, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for triceratops

New Latin, from tri- + Greek kerat-, keras horn + ōps face — more at horn, eye

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Time Traveler for triceratops

Time Traveler

The first known use of triceratops was in 1892

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Triceratops.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of triceratops

: a large dinosaur that had three horns on its head and that ate plants


tri·​cer·​a·​tops | \ trī-ˈser-ə-ˌtäps How to pronounce triceratops (audio) \
plural triceratops

Kids Definition of triceratops

: a large plant-eating dinosaur with three horns, a large bony crest around the neck, and hoofed toes

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