Student Dictionary

One entry found for lemur.
Main Entry: le·mur
Pronunciation: primarystresslemacron-mschwar
Function: noun
Etymology: from Latin lemures (plural) "ghosts"
: any of various tree-dwelling primates that are active at night, usually have large eyes, very soft woolly fur, and a long furry tail and were formerly widespread but are now found mainly in Madagascar
Word History The large island of Madagascar off the southeast coast of Africa is home to many unusual animals. Some of these animals live in trees and are active at night. Their big eyes give them an eerie look, especially when the animals are moving through the trees at night. When 18th century scientists saw these mammals for the first time, they thought the creatures looked like ghosts. They named the animals lemurs. This name comes from the Latin word lemures, meaning "ghosts." In Roman legend lemures were the spirits of people left unburied, who returned by night from the dead to haunt the living.
[lemur illustration]

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