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[ik-thee-uh-sawr] /ˈɪk θi əˌsɔr/
any fishlike marine reptile of the extinct order Ichthyosauria, ranging from 4 to 40 feet (1.2 to 12 meters) in length and having a round, tapering body, a large head, four paddlelike flippers, and a vertical caudal fin.
Origin of ichthyosaur
1820-30; see ichthyosaurus
Related forms
ichthyosaurian, adjective, noun
ichthyosauroid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ichthyosaur
Historical Examples
  • Buckland, I think, once indulged in the jeu d'esprit of supposing an ichthyosaur lecturing on the human skull.

    A Journey in Other Worlds John Jacob Astor
  • The ichthyosaur of the Jurassic is a remarkably fish-like animal.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
  • It is supposed to have lived in shallow seas and estuaries, and to have breathed air like the ichthyosaur, and our modern cetacea.

  • Compared with the ichthyosaur, it was what the giraffe is to the rhinoceros, or the swan to the porpoise.

  • The ichthyosaur came of the reptile group which we have called the Diapsids.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
  • In the popular mind, perhaps, the ichthyosaur and Plesiosaur are the typical representatives of that extinct race.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
British Dictionary definitions for ichthyosaur


noun (pl) -saurs, -sauruses, -sauri (-ˈsɔːraɪ)
any extinct marine Mesozoic reptile of the order Ichthyosauria, which had a porpoise-like body with dorsal and tail fins and paddle-like limbs See also plesiosaur
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 ichthyosaur



extinct reptile, 1830, Modern Latin, from Greek ikhthys "fish" + sauros "lizard" (see -saurus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ichthyosaur in Science
Any of various extinct sea reptiles of the genus Ichthyosaurus and related genera, that had a medium-sized to large dolphin-like body with a dorsal fin, four flippers, and a large, crescent-shaped tail. The head had a long beak with sharp teeth, large eyes and earbones, and nostrils near the eyes on top of the skull. Ichthyosaurs were most common and diverse in the Triassic and Jurassic Periods and died out well before the end of the Cretaceous.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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