One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a mammal) walking on its toes and not touching the ground with its heels, as a dog, cat, or rodent.Compare with plantigrade
- ‘She stands on powerful digitigrade legs, which appear to have both tremendous strength as well as speed.’
- ‘Thus, by the early Late Triassic sauropods had relatively small forefeet that were held in a nearly vertical, digitigrade posture in which the five weight-bearing digits were arranged in a gentle arch.’
- ‘They differ from other dasyuroids most conspicuously in their size and body form; these large, wolflike animals reached a weight of 35 kg and had long, canid like limbs with digitigrade posture.’
- ‘Because of their digitigrade stance, walking down stairs was difficult for them to do rapidly.’
- ‘Bear in mind that this rule applies even in the case of extreme digitigrade organisms in which a ‘ventral’ or ‘plantar’ view of the ankle in a natural life position requires one to look down on the tarsals and see the top side of the foot.’
Mid 19th century: from Latin digitus ‘finger, toe’ + -gradus ‘-walking’.
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