Definition of tetrapod in US English:



  • 1A four-footed animal, especially a member of a group which includes all vertebrates higher than fishes.

    Superclass Tetrapoda: the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals

    • ‘Before tetrapods existed, vertebrates were all confined to living in aquatic habitats.’
    • ‘The late Devonian also marked the first tetrapods - vertebrates with true legs that could walk on land.’
    • ‘Modern classifications of the tetrapods rely on the structure of the skull.’
    • ‘This provides an excellent opportunity to quantify speed in nature during different activities, which can be accomplished by measuring stride length, which in most vertebrate tetrapods, is closely linked with speed.’
    • ‘The first tetrapods, or land-living vertebrates, appeared during the Devonian, as did the first terrestrial arthropods, including wingless insects and the earliest arachnids.’
    1. 1.1 An object or structure with four feet, legs, or supports.
      • ‘Armouring of the extension to Wellington airport runway in 1955 was one of the earliest projects to use Tetrapods.’
      • ‘The Tetrapod, the first of the ‘engineered’ precast concrete armour units, was developed by the French company Neyrpric in 1953.’
      • ‘The city of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, began removing concrete breakwater tetrapods from its shores Monday so sea turtles will be able to come ashore to lay their eggs, municipal officials said.’


Early 19th century: from modern Latin tetrapodus, from Greek tetrapous, tetrapod- ‘four-footed’, from tetra- ‘four’ + pous ‘foot’.