Definitions

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

  • adj. Relating to an animal, such as a horse, cat, or dog, whose weight is borne on the toes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Walking on the toes, putting the weight of the body mainly on the ball of the foot, with the back of the foot, or heel, raised.
  • adj. Belonging to the Digitigrada of the taxonomic order Carnivora.
  • adj. Of, resembling, or pertaining to that of a digitigrade animal.
  • n. A digitigrade animal, such as a dog or a cat; an animal that walks on its toes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Walking on the toes; -- distinguished from plantigrade.
  • n. An animal that walks on its toes, as the cat, lion, wolf, etc.; -- distinguished from a plantigrade, which walks on the palm of the foot.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Walking on the toes, with the heel raised from the ground; not stepping on the whole sole of the foot: applied chiefly to carnivorous quadrupeds, and opposed to plantigrade, but without special reference to the Digitigrada as framed by Cuvier. Most quadrupeds are digitigrade. Specifically
  • Of or pertaining to the Digitigrada; having the characters of the Digitigrada.
  • n. One of the Digitigrada.

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

  • n. an animal that walks so that only the toes touch the ground as e.g. dogs and cats and horses
  • adj. (of mammals) walking on the toes with the posterior part of the foot raised (as cats, dogs, and horses do)

Etymologies

French : Latin digitus, toe; see digit + Latin gradus, step; see grade.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French digitigrade (Modern Latin digitigradus), from Latin digitus ("finger, toe, digit") (whence English digit) + gradus ("step”, “pace"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The skull is more solid, the jaws much deeper and more powerful, the fore limb much smaller, the tail shorter, the hind limb straighter and the foot bones more compacted so that the animal was more strictly "digitigrade," approaching the ostriches more closely in this particular.

    Dinosaurs With Special Reference to the American Museum Collections

  • The supposed stegosaurian track Deltapodus Whyte & Romano, 1994 (Middle Jurassic of England) is sauropod-like, elongate and plantigrade, but many blunt-toed, digitigrade, large ornithopod-like footprints (including pedal print cast associated with the manus of Stegopodus Lockley & Hunt, 1998) from the Upper Jurassic of Utah, better fit the stegosaurian foot pattern.

    Neoceratopsian publications for 2008

  • The natural cast of tetradactyl digitigrade footprint (Fig. lB), was found underneath the pelvic girdle by two of us (TS and GN), while the skeleton and matrix were being recently prepared.

    Neoceratopsian publications for 2008

  • I know, this isn't the usual stuff posted to the GB, but the hound looks so way cool, and besides, unlike all those gag pictures we've all seen, this particular digitigrade quadruped actually needs those goggles.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • The thud of their boots was lost amidst digitigrade slither and click.

    A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows

  • They were described as man-size bipeds, but digitigrade, which gave their feet almost the appearance of a dog's walking on its hind legs.

    Agent Of The Terran Empire

  • In March, that brief summary of a bear, the raccoon, comes out of his den in the ledges, and leaves his sharp digitigrade track upon the snow, -- travelling not unfrequently in pairs, -- a lean, hungry couple, bent on pillage and plunder.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866

  • The next thing to observe is, that the disposition of bones in the case of the bear is such that the animal walks in the way that has been called plantigrade. That is to say, all the bones of the fingers, as well as those of the toes, feet, and ankles, rest upon the ground, or help to constitute the “soles.” Our own feet are constructed on a closely similar pattern. But in the majority of living mammalian forms this is not the case. For the majority of mammals are what has been called digitigrade.

    Darwin, and After Darwin (Vol. 1 and 3, of 3) An Exposition of the Darwinian Theory and a Discussion of Post-Darwinian Questions

  • The proper position of the Cynoidea should be between the bears and the cats, as in their dentition they approximate to the former, and in their digitigrade character to the latter; but, with a view to make this work concurrent with that of Jerdon's, I have accepted the position assigned by him, though it be a little out of place.

    Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon

  • It was formerly classed with the racoons, which it superficially resembles; and, as Jerdon remarks, it may be considered as a sort of link between the plantigrade and digitigrade carnivora.

    Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon

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