melo-, mel-, -melia +

(Greek: melos, limb, body extremity or member; a condition of the limbs or extremities of a body; such as, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, etc.)

phocomelus (s) (noun), phocomeli (pl)
1. A person who has an abnormal development of arms or legs, or both, so that the hands and feet are attached close to the body, resembling the flippers of a seal.
2. A fetus or postnatal individual with abnormal arms and/or legs.
A modern example of a phocomelic with his mother.
Thomas Quasthoff, afflicted with phocomelia,
is shown here with his mother.

Word Info image © Copyright, 2006.
phocomely (adverb), more phocomely, most phocomely
1. A reference to a congenital malformation in which the proximal portions of the extremities are poorly developed or absent: The phocomely characteristic example shows the hands and feet being attached directly to the body (trunk) or by means of a poorly formed bone.

In some cases, this phocomely abnormal condition was the result of a pregnant woman taking thalidomide, a sleeping pill, during early pregnancy.

2. Etymology: from the resemblance of the flippers of a seal; from Greek phoke, "a seal" + melos, "a limb, an extremity"; such as, the hands and feet.

A modern example of a phocomelic.
Thomas Quasthoff of Germany is a well-known
"phocomelic" singer and voice teacher.

Word Info image © Copyright, 2006.

A talented bass-baritone singer and voice teacher

Thomas Quasthoff was born in Hildesheim, Germany, on November 9, 1959. He is a German bass-baritone generally regarded as one of the finest singers of his generation.

Quasthoff has proven to have a remarkable range from the Baroque cantatas of Bach to solo jazz improvisations.

He was born with serious birth defects caused by his mother's exposure during pregnancy to the drug thalidomide which was prescribed as an antiemetic to combat her morning sickness.

Thomas Quasthoff is unusually short, about four feet tall, as a result of the shortening of the long bones in his legs, and he has phocomelia of the upper extremities with very short or absent long bones and flipper-like appearances of his hands. In medical terms, Quasthoff has thalidomide syndrome.

Quasthoff is a full-time voice professor and performer. Prior to his music profession, he worked for six years as a radio announcer for NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk) or the North German Broadcasting company, a public radio and television broadcaster, located in Hamburg, Germany.

—Compiled from information provided by
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Congenital cleft, or fissure, of a limb.
sirenomelia, mermaid deformity
1. A union of the legs with partial or complete fusion of the feet.
2. The congenital union of the legs with partial or complete fusion of the feet.

Also known as sympus in which an individual has legs and feet which are united in the midline.

An abnormal bodily condition in which there may be three feet (tripodial sympus), two feet (dipodial sympus), one foot (monopodial sympus), or no feet (apodal sympus or sirenomelia).
A fetus exhibiting symmelia or the union of the legs with a partial or a complete fusion of the feet.
A severe malformation of all four limbs.

Related bodily-malformation word units: phocomel-; terato-, tera-.

Related "foot, feet" units: ped-; planta-; podo-; -pus.

Related "leg, legs" word units: cruro-; skel-, scel-.