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[mam-uh l] /ˈmæm əl/
any vertebrate of the class Mammalia, having the body more or less covered with hair, nourishing the young with milk from the mammary glands, and, with the exception of the egg-laying monotremes, giving birth to live young.
1820-30; as singular of New Latin Mammalia neuter plural of Late Latin mammālis of the breast. See mamma2, -al1
Related forms
mammallike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mammals
  • The area is prime habitat for many birds and mammals.
  • The slow-moving mammals secret world is revealed in this video.
  • They have shown that all human beings are incredibly similar genetically-much more so than other species of large mammals.
  • Smaller mammals include raccoons and opossums that hunt for small fish and invertebrates.
  • Coconut palms tower overhead, sheltering colorful birds and water mammals.
  • Dolphins are sea mammals that are part of the cetacean family, which also includes whales and porpoises.
  • Swimming with dolphins is an enjoyable way to learn more about these sea mammals by actually getting into the water with them.
  • They are unique among seagoing mammals in their herbivorous nature.
  • It then goes on to infect other mammals, including rats.
  • In many mammals the development of normal vision requires exposure to light during a critical period following birth.
British Dictionary definitions for mammals


any animal of the Mammalia, a large class of warm-blooded vertebrates having mammary glands in the female, a thoracic diaphragm, and a four-chambered heart. The class includes the whales, carnivores, rodents, bats, primates, etc
Derived Forms
mammalian (mæˈmeɪlɪən) adjective, noun
mammal-like, adjective
Word Origin
C19: via New Latin from Latin mamma breast
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 mammals



1826, anglicized form of Modern Latin Mammalia (1773), coined 1758 by Linnaeus for the class of mammals, from neuter plural of Late Latin mammalis "of the breast," from Latin mamma "breast," perhaps cognate with mamma.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mammals in Science
Any of various warm-blooded vertebrate animals of the class Mammalia, whose young feed on milk that is produced by the mother's mammary glands. Unlike other vertebrates, mammals have a diaphragm that separates the heart and lungs from the other internal organs, red blood cells that lack a nucleus, and usually hair or fur. All mammals but the monotremes bear live young. Mammals include rodents, cats, dogs, ungulates, cetaceans, and apes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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mammals in Culture

mammals definition

A class of vertebrates characterized by the production of milk by the females and in most cases, by a hairy body covering. Most mammals give live birth to their young. Human beings are mammals.

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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