Definition of marsupial in English:



  • A mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother's belly. Marsupials are found chiefly in Australia and New Guinea, and also in America.

    • ‘The diprotodonts, with ten families including 117 species, make up the largest order of marsupials.’
    • ‘Australia once had many marsupials much larger than those remaining today.’
    • ‘The embryo forms an allantoic placenta, as is true of at least some peramelids and koalas but not other marsupials.’
    • ‘In some (but by no means all) species of marsupials, females develop a pouch or marsupium in which the young are nursed.’
    • ‘In South America and Australia, however, marsupials continued to be an important group of land mammals.’
    • ‘These small to medium-sized marsupials all have a dark dorsal stripe that runs from the rump to the head.’
    • ‘Unlike other marsupials, the Tasmanian wolf's pouch was shallow and opened towards the rear of the animal.’
    • ‘The cat-size marsupials gained a permanent foothold here by 1858.’
    • ‘The pig-footed bandicoot was one of the very strangest of marsupials.’
    • ‘The egg-laying platypus and its cousin, the anteater, along with marsupials, make up the most primitive group of living mammals.’
    • ‘Their well-developed pouches open anteriorly, like those of most other marsupials.’
    • ‘During his career of nearly six decades, he published over 600 papers and more than a dozen books, on subjects ranging from Australian marsupials to gorillas.’
    • ‘So the extension of the term ‘marsupial’ is the set of all marsupials: kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and so on.’
    • ‘Koalas are unusual among marsupials in that they briefly form a placenta during the gestation of their embryos.’
    • ‘For unknown reasons, Australia was apparently originally populated entirely by marsupials rather than placental mammals.’
    • ‘The DNA will also be used to establish evolutionary links to modern marsupials in Australia today.’
    • ‘The invasive species kill birds, small marsupials, amphibians, lizards, and snakes.’
    • ‘When riding around the island, you have to be careful of the multitude of furry marsupials called Quokka's.’
    • ‘Foxes as predators prey on lambs and chickens and kill native small marsupials and rodents.’
    • ‘Koalas are Australia's best known tree-dwelling marsupials, coming to the ground only to move from one tree to the next.’


  • Relating to the marsupials.

    • ‘Once the female hip-pocket frog, an Australian species also known as the marsupial frog, lays up to 20 white eggs, her work is done.’
    • ‘The marsupial wolf, now probably extinct, was once widespread in Australia and New Guinea.’
    • ‘Named Akidolestes, the extinct animal had jaws, teeth, and forelimbs that identify it as a close relative of modern placental and marsupial mammals.’
    • ‘This marsupial family is restricted to wooded areas of eastern Australia and contains a single living species, the familiar koala.’
    • ‘The homology of the teeth in the marsupial dentition has been controversial and there are several alternate nomenclatures.’
    • ‘Dental development also occurs throughout the period of attachment in other marsupial species.’
    • ‘Tasmania was the last refuge for two large marsupial carnivores.’
    • ‘The marsupial family Tarsipedidae contains a single species, the honey possum or noolbender.’
    • ‘Many of the extinct marsupial megafauna were large, herbivorous browsers, some weighing several tons.’
    • ‘Tooth replacement in marsupial mammals differs from the condition generally believed to characterize eutherian mammals.’
    • ‘This was catastrophic for some of the local animals, especially the big marsupial carnivores.’
    • ‘‘This new fossil provides precious new information, and sheds light on the evolution of all marsupial mammals,’ he said.’
    • ‘Small mammals such as bush rats and marsupial carnivores survived the fires by hiding under boulders and in damp rock crevasses.’
    • ‘The Tasmanian Devil is the world's largest marsupial predator but its very survival is at stake as an horrific cancer threatens up to 90% of its population.’
    • ‘The production of a marsupial genetic linkage map is perhaps one of the most important objectives in marsupial research.’
    • ‘Studies on marsupial color vision have been limited to very few species.’
    • ‘When we studied all the patterns of amino-acid replacement and silent substitution, we discovered several replacements that all placental and marsupial mammals share.’
    • ‘Placental and marsupial mammals are more closely related to one another than to the third living group of mammals, the monotremes.’
    • ‘Unlike the large cats that have two enlarged canines, marsupial lions had enlarged incisors that were used to stab prey.’
    • ‘Now the Tasmanian Devil is the largest meat-eating marsupial existing today.’


Late 17th century (in the sense ‘resembling a pouch’): from modern Latin marsupialis, via Latin from Greek marsupion pouch (see marsupium).