Definition of belemnite in English:



  • An extinct cephalopod mollusc with a bullet-shaped internal shell that is typically found as a fossil in marine deposits of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

    Order Belemnoidea, class Cephalopoda: many genera

    • ‘These turned out to be remains from the tentacles of extinct squid-like belemnites.’
    • ‘Both squids and belemnites belong to the group of molluscs known as Coleoidea, mostly fast-swimming creatures with a soft body and internal reduced shell (or in the case of the octopus no shell at all).’
    • ‘The vomit contains the remains of dozens of belemnites - squid-like shellfish that lived in abundance in the seas around what is now Britain.’
    • ‘They included the great marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, but also smaller creatures such as ammonites and belemnites - the precursor's of today's squid.’
    • ‘The exceptionally early extinction patterns of the inoceramid bivalves and belemnites can be confirmed, but it is apparent that other key groups such as the ammonites and trigoniid bivalves go right up to the boundary itself.’
    • ‘The stomach contents consisted not of belemnites, but of fish and hatchling turtles.’
    • ‘Urgonian facies are also characterized, negatively, by the absence of ammonites and belemnites.’
    • ‘Examination of the giant, 14-foot-long fossil has already revealed Ike's last meal was a long-extinct squid-like creature, known as a belemnite, and fish similar to modern cod.’


Early 17th century: from modern Latin belemnites, based on Greek belemnon ‘dart’.