One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Designating or relating to shark-like fishes of the order Xenacanthiformes (formerly Pleuracanthodii), known from fossil remains from the Devonian to the Triassic periods and typically having a long spine behind the skull bordered by two rows of small denticles, an elongated dorsal fin, and a diphycercal tail.
A pleuracanth fish.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Century Dictionary. From scientific Latin Pleuracanthus, genus name from ancient Greek πλευρά side + ἄκανθα spine, thorn. With use as adjective compare pleuracanthoid; with use as noun compare pleuracanthoid and slightly later pleuracanthid.
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