Definition of Tetrapoda in US English:



  • 1Entomology. A former division of butterflies comprising those in which the first pair of legs are reduced, leaving only two functional pairs for walking. Also: butterflies of this division (collectively or individually); nymphalids.

  • 2Zoology. A superclass of vertebrates comprising those that have (or are descended from those that had) four limbs with digits, including the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.


Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Westwood (1805–1893), entomologist and palaeographer. From scientific Latin Tetrapoda from ancient Greek τετραποδ-, τετράπους four-footed (from τετρα- + ποδ-, ποῦς: see -pod) + scientific Latin -a.