quadruped (n.)

"a four-footed animal," especially "a four-footed mammal," 1640s, from French quadrupède (16c.), from Latin quadrupes (genitive quadrupedis) "four-footed, on all fours," also, as a noun, "a four-footed animal," from quadri- "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four") + pes "foot" (from PIE root *ped- "foot").

The adjective is attested from 1741, "four-footed, having four limbs fitted for sustaining the body and locomotion, habitually going on all fours." Related: Quadrupedal (1610s). In zoology, quadrumane (from Latin manus "hand") was "a four-handed animal," in reference to monkeys, apes, lemurs, etc.; attested by 1786.

updated on February 25, 2021