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[lee-mer] /ˈli mər/
any of various small, arboreal, chiefly nocturnal mammals of the family Lemuridae, of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, especially of the genus Lemur, usually having large eyes, a foxlike face, and woolly fur: most lemurs are endangered.
1790-1800; < Neo-Latin, apparently special use of Latin lemurēs (plural) ghosts, specters
Related forms
lemurlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for lemur
  • The zoo also has endangered species such as the red panda and ring-tailed lemur.
  • He says he'd prefer to be a lemur or a rabbit and still be intelligent and keep the opposable thumbs.
  • His role is a study in worry: the angst rarely leaves his deep-set lemur's eyes.
  • But the small lemur pulled through, soon becoming one of the center's celebrities, relatively speaking.
  • Read an interview with a scientist who found a rare new lemur species.
British Dictionary definitions for lemur


any Madagascan prosimian primate of the family Lemuridae, such as Lemur catta (the ring-tailed lemur). They are typically arboreal, having foxy faces and long tails
any similar or closely related animal, such as a loris or indris
Derived Forms
lemur-like, adjective
Word Origin
C18: New Latin, adapted from Latin lemurēs ghosts; so named by Linnaeus for its ghost-like face and nocturnal habits
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 lemur
"nocturnal Madagascar mammal," 1795, coined by Linnaeus, from L. lemures (pl.) "spirits of the dead" in Roman mythology. So called for its nocturnal habits and ghostly stares. Lemuria (1864) was the name given by P.L. Sclater to a hypothetical ancient continent connecting Africa and Southeastern Asia (and including Madagascar), which was hypothesized to explain phenomena now accounted for by continental drift.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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