Friday, October 31, 2008

Word of the Day

chiropteran\kye-RAHP-tuh-run\n. 1: any of an order of night-flying mammals with forelimbs modified to form wings: bat.

Example Sentence: The vampire hunters were greeted by swarms of chiropterans as they entered Dracula's castle.

Did you know? "Chiroptera" is the name of the order of the only mammal capable of true flight, the bat. The name is influence by the hand-like wings of bats, which are formed from four elongated "fingers" covered by a cutaneous membrane. It is based on the Greek words for "hand," "cheir," and "wing," "pteron." "Cheir" also had a hand in the formation of the word "surgery," which is ultimately derived from the ancient word "cheirourgos," meaning "doing by hand." "Pteron" is widely used in technical names of flying insects. It's also the ancestor of a well-known, common word: "helicopter," which joins "pteron" with Greek "heliko," meaning "spiral."

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