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illustration Polydactyl



Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, 19th century


Having multiple digits


Having more than the normal number of digits

Examples of Polydactyl in a sentence

"Children can learn to count on their fingers because they are polydactyl."

"The polydactyl cats looked like their paws were stretched out with too many toes squeezed in."

About Polydactyl

Take a visit to Ernest Hemingway's historical home on the island of Key West and you can visit descendents of his polydactyl cats. This fancy word just means the cats have more than the normal number of toes on each paw. Normal cats have 18 toes, with five toes on the front paws and four toes on the back paws. Polydactyl cats may have up to nine toes on each paw. The genetic abnormality was thought by sailors to be good luck, so the many-toed cats were bred for ship life. Hemingway was given his first polydactyl cat — a six-toed cat named Snow White — by a ship's captain.

Did you Know?

Depending on the context, polydactyl can mean very different things. You'll always be talking about the number of fingers and toes, but it could be any number of digits more than one, or it could be a specific genetic abnormality with more than the normal number of fingers or toes.

illustration Polydactyl

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