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brontosaur

[bron-tuh-sawr] /ˈbrɒn təˌsɔr/
noun
1.
a huge sauropod dinosaur of the genus Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus) and closely related genera, of the Jurassic Period, having a massive body, a small head and long neck, and thick columnar limbs, and ranging up to 77 feet (23.5 meters) in length.
Origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for brontosaur

brontosaurus

/ˌbrɒntəˈsɔːrəs/
noun
1.
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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brontosaur in Science
brontosaurus (brŏn'tə-sôr'əs) or brontosaur
  (brŏn'tə-sôr'əs)   
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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