noun \ˈä-tər\

: an animal that has dark brown fur and webbed feet with claws and that eats fish

plural otters also otter

Full Definition of OTTER

:  any of various largely aquatic carnivorous mammals (as genus Lutra or Enhydra) of the weasel family that usually have webbed and clawed feet and dark brown fur
:  the fur or pelt of an otter

Illustration of OTTER

Origin of OTTER

Middle English oter, from Old English otor; akin to Old High German ottar otter, Greek hydōr water — more at water
First Known Use: before 12th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

River otter (Lutra canadensis).—Kenneth W. Fink/Root Resources

Any of 13 species of semiaquatic, web-footed carnivores in the weasel family (Mustelidae), found throughout Africa, North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Otters have the same general proportions as weasels. Size varies among species, but total length is typically 3–7 ft (1–2 m), and weight is 6.5–60 lb (3–26 kg); the large sea otter is an exception. Otter fur—e.g., that of North American river otters—is highly valued. Most species live near rivers, some live near lakes or streams, and the sea otter is completely marine. Otters eat small aquatic animals. They are inquisitive and playful; a favourite sport is sliding down mud or snow banks.


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