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 (fō′kō-mē′lē-ə, -mēl′yə)
A birth defect in which the upper portion of a limb is absent or poorly developed, so that the hand or foot attaches to the body by a short, flipperlike stump.

[New Latin phōcomelia : Greek phōkē, seal + Greek melos, limb.]


(ˌfəʊkəʊˈmiːlɪə) or


(Pathology) a congenital deformity resulting from prenatal interference with the development of the fetal limbs, characterized esp by short stubby hands or feet attached close to the body
[C19: via New Latin from Greek phōkē a seal + melos a limb]
ˌphocoˈmelic adj

phocomelia, phocomely

a deformity, usually congenital, in which the extremities of the limbs are abnormally short.
See also: Body, Human
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.phocomelia - an abnormality of development in which the upper part of an arm or leg is missing so the hands or feet are attached to the body like stumps; rare condition that results from taking thalidomide during pregnancy
meromelia - congenital absence of part of an arm or leg
References in periodicals archive ?
In contrast to thalidomide, where many lines of evidence have shown that the drug caused phocomelia malformations (see Henning Sjostrom & Robert Nilsson, Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972) at 156-59), no causal link has ever been scientifically established between Bendectin and birth defects.
Mat was born with congenital phocomelia, caused by exposure to the drug thalidomide.
Adopted at the age of three, Safiya was brought up fully aware of some stark realities, including her congenital disorder, phocomelia.
This kind of reaction is nothingnew for 47-year-old artist Alison -born without arms and shortenedlegs due to a congenital conditioncalled phocomelia - in a life thatbegan with rejection, peppered withabuse but blossomed into breakingboundaries and achieving whatpeople said she never would - mostnotably parenthood.
Then obstetricians began to see an increase in babies born with phocomelia or "seal limb," where the long bones of one or both pairs of limbs fail to develop correctly.
1995) has reported a case of phocomelia after treatment with clomiphene citrate.
1 Recognition of thalidomide's association with a variety of birth defects and, in particular, limb defects known as phocomelia, led to the drug's withdrawal from the market.
The technical name for Maynard's birth defect is quadramembral phocomelia, but a more common and easily pronounceable term is "congenital amputation.