Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Adapted for tearing apart flesh: carnassial teeth.
  • n. A tooth adapted for tearing apart flesh, especially one of the last upper premolar or first lower molar teeth in carnivorous mammals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of the teeth used by a carnivore for shearing flesh, being the last upper premolar and the first lower molar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Adapted to eating flesh.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sectorial; adapted for cutting and tearing flesh: applied to the specialized trenchant or cutting molar or premolar of the Carnivora.
  • n. A sectorial tooth; the last upper premolar or first lower molar tooth of those Carnivora which have a typically carnivorous dentition, as the cat or dog.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of a tooth) adapted for shearing flesh

Etymologies

From French carnassier, carnivorous, from Provençal, from carnasso, meat in abundance, from carn, flesh, from Latin carō, carn-; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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  • "Hickman glanced from Ian's scowling, tattooed visage, to Rollo's impressive carnassials, and back to Jamie, who had uncocked the pistol and put it in his own belt. He breathed heavily.

    'On your head be it, then,' he said abruptly, and turned away."
    —Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone (New York: Delacorte Press, 2009), 326

    December 17, 2009