Word of The Day for Saturday, July 2, 2011


un•gu•late (UHNG-gyuh-lit, -leyt)

1. a hoofed mammal

2. having hoofs
3. hooflike
4. belonging or pertaining to the Ungulata, a former order of all hoofed mammals, now divided into the odd-toed perissodactyls and even-toed artiodactyls
1802; from L.L. ungulatus "hoofed," from ungula "hoof, claw, talon," dim. (in form but not sense) of unguis "nail"

Sentence Examples:
• The giraffe is separated from all living ungulates by the primitive character of its so-called "horns," which are not horns in the usual sense, but simply bony prominences of the skull covered with hair.  - American Big Game in Its Haunts

• A few moments later, a rifle flash and a bang, and then a fusillade brought Jack’s heart into his throat. The pickup car jetted toward it; by the time it reached the spot, the shooting had stopped, and a crowd was gathering around something white on the ground. He had to force himself to look, then gave a shuddering breath of relief. It was a zaragoat, a three-horned domesticated ungulate. - Little Fuzzy, Henry Beam Piper

• Professor Cope, the American paleontologist, was a strong believer in the effect of activity, both upon the individual and upon his descendants. He believed that the insistent beating of the foot of an animal upon the hard soil of the drying Tertiary plateau, had influenced the production of a firmer nail, which spread around the entire end of the toe and made the hoof of the ungulate. - The Meaning of Evolution, Samuel Christian Schmucker


Ungulates are several groups of mammals, most of which use the tips of their toes, usually hoofed, to sustain their whole body weight while moving. They make up several orders of mammals, of which six to eight survive. There is some dispute as to whether Ungulata is a cladistic (evolution-based) group, or merely a phenetic group or folk taxon (similar, but not necessarily related), because not all ungulates appear as closely related as once believed. 

Sources: Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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