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[bron-tuh-sawr-uh s] /ˌbrɒn təˈsɔr əs/
noun, plural brontosauruses, brontosauri
[bron-tuh-sawr-ahy] /ˌbrɒn təˈsɔr aɪ/ (Show IPA)
Origin of brontosaurus
< New Latin (1879), equivalent to Greek bronto- (combining form of brontḗ thunder) + saûros -saurus Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brontosaurus
Historical Examples
  • He would not have been surprised to see a brontosaurus peeking coyly down at him from twenty feet or so of neck.

    Ralestone Luck Andre Norton
  • The Diplodocus nearly equalled the brontosaurus in bulk and exceeded it in length.

    Dinosaurs William Diller Matthew
  • One of the students told me Professor Glenholdt was here to get the tip-end bone of the tail of a brontosaurus.

    Letters on an Elk Hunt Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • There were roars of laughter, and a grin from White like the smile of a brontosaurus.

    Tell England Ernest Raymond
  • Simultaneously there appeared a herd of the greatest of all the prehistoric monsters—the brontosaurus.

  • And they had a smooth skin, while this thing has scales, like those of a brontosaurus, which was really a land animal.

    Omega, the Man Lowell Howard Morrow
  • Two years were required to unearth the skeleton of a brontosaurus.

    The Book of the National Parks Robert Sterling Yard
  • The leader of the brontosaurus herd trumpeted madly and barged for the higher ground of safety.

  • If the position isn't faced they will soon die out altogether and become as rare as the brontosaurus.

    Our Elizabeth Florence A. Kilpatrick
  • The vertebr are hollowed out much in the same way as those of brontosaurus.

    Extinct Monsters H. N. Hutchinson
British Dictionary definitions for brontosaurus


any very large herbivorous quadrupedal dinosaur of the genus Apatosaurus, common in North America during Jurassic times, having a long neck and long tail: suborder Sauropoda (sauropods)
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from Greek brontē thunder + sauros lizard
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for brontosaurus

1879, Modern Latin, from Greek bronte "thunder" (perhaps from PIE imitative root *bhrem- "to growl") + -saurus. Brontes was the name of one of the Cyclopes in Greek mythology.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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brontosaurus in Science
brontosaurus (brŏn'tə-sôr'əs) or brontosaur
An earlier name for apatosaurus.

Our Living Language  : Take a little deception, add a little excitement, stir them with a century-long mistake, and you have the mystery of the brontosaurus. Specifically, you have the mystery of its name. For 100 years this 70-foot-long, 30-ton vegetarian giant had two names. This case of double identity began in 1877, when bones of a large dinosaur were discovered. The creature was dubbed apatosaurus, a name that meant "deceptive lizard" or "unreal lizard." Two years later, bones of a larger dinosaur were found, and in all the excitement, scientists named it brontosaurus or "thunder lizard." This name stuck until scientists decided it was all a mistake—the two sets of bones actually belonged to the same type of dinosaur. Since it is a rule in taxonomy that the first name given to a newly discovered organism is the one that must be used, scientists have had to use the term apatosaurus. But "thunder lizard" had found a lot of popular appeal, and many people still prefer to call the beast brontosaurus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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brontosaurus in Culture
Brontosaurus [(bron-tuh-sawr-uhs)]

A large herbivorous (see herbivore) dinosaur, perhaps the most familiar of the dinosaurs. The scientific name has recently been changed to Apatosaurus, but Brontosaurus is still used popularly. The word is from the Greek, meaning “thunder lizard.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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