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[plee-see-uh-sawr] /ˈpli si əˌsɔr/
any marine reptile of the extinct genus Plesiosaurus, from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, having a small head, a long neck, four paddlelike limbs, and a short tail.
Origin of plesiosaur
< New Latin Plesiosaurus (1821), equivalent to Greek plēsí(os) near, close to + -o- -o- + saûros -saur; orig. so named because of its conjectured nearness to modern reptiles, relative to the ichthyosaurs
Related forms
plesiosauroid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for plesiosaur
Historical Examples
  • In the popular mind, perhaps, the Ichthyosaur and plesiosaur are the typical representatives of that extinct race.

    The Story of Evolution Joseph McCabe
  • The plesiosaur, on the other hand, had a small and delicate head, with slender teeth and small eyes.

British Dictionary definitions for plesiosaur


any of various extinct marine reptiles of the order Sauropterygia, esp any of the suborder Plesiosauria, of Jurassic and Cretaceous times, having a long neck, short tail, and paddle-like limbs See also ichthyosaur Compare dinosaur, pterosaur
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin plēsiosaurus, from Greek plēsios near + sauros a 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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plesiosaur in Science
Any of various large, extinct marine reptiles of the genus Plesiosaurus and related genera of the Mesozoic Era. Most plesiosaurs had a small head on a long neck and a broad body with paddlelike limbs; one group had a large head on a short neck. The exact relationship between plesiosaurs and other reptiles is not known.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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