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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 ?
The drug, then prescribed for morning sickness in expectant mothers, was found to have caused thousands of children to suffer phocomelia, a condition in which babies are born without arms and legs.
For Hull City of Culture I cast an actor with phocomelia to play Richard III.
A number of historic cases have shown the risks associated with the use of potentially unsafe medicines, dating back to preregulatory periods and phocomelia caused by thalidomide in the 1950s and 1960s and, more recently, the abortifacient property of misoprostol, discovered after its commercialization was authorized in the 1990s, and the recent withdrawal of rofecoxib due to its association with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, which was not detected prior to its registration, despite modern regulatory criteria (12).
Phocomelia, the congenital absence of the proximal part of a limb, is an uncommon defect in infants.
Vujicic, who has flown in specially for the event, was born with phocomelia, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of legs and arms.
The 33-year-old Australian motivational speaker was born with phocomelia, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of limbs.
Thalidomide is a double-edged weapon; although its use has been associated with devastating consequences such as phocomelia (when used in pregnant women), is extremely useful as a steroid-sparing agent.
Morphological studies showed the abnormalities such as distorted axis, cryptophthalmia, anophthalmia, open eyelids, micromelia, phocomelia, agnathia, hydrocephaly, angular tail and subcutaneous hemorrhages.
Former lawyer Stephen was born with a disability in his legs, while Rosie has phocomelia, which means she has no arms but two fingers on each shoulder.
Stephen, a former lawyer, was born with a disability in his legs, while Rosie was born with phocomelia, which means she has no arms but two fingers on each shoulder.