Definition of dentary in US English:


nounPlural dentaries

  • The anterior bone of the lower jaw which bears the teeth. In mammals it forms the whole of the lower jaw (or mandible).

    • ‘This tusk may be associated with the left dentary of the old animal.’
    • ‘Mammals are unique among extant vertebrates in possessing a lower jaw formed by a single bony element, the dentary.’
    • ‘Even at first glance, the shape of the four-inch-long bone and the linear arrangement of tooth sockets told us that this was a dentary, or tooth-bearing portion of a lower jaw.’
    • ‘Associated remains found with this skeleton consist of acid - etched vertebrae and a fragmentary dentary from juvenile hadrosaur dinosaurs.’
    • ‘During mammalian evolution, the lower jaw became just one bone, the dentary, with the articular no longer attached to the lower jaw.’


Mid 19th century: from late Latin dentarius, from Latin dens, dent- ‘tooth’.