Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

reptile

play
noun rep·tile \ˈrep-ˌtī(-ə)l, -təl\

Simple Definition of reptile

  • : an animal (such as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that has cold blood, that lays eggs, and that has a body covered with scales or hard parts

  • : a person who cannot be trusted or who is not likable

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of reptile

  1. 1 :  an animal that crawls or moves on its belly (as a snake) or on small short legs (as a lizard)

  2. 2 :  any of a class (Reptilia) of air-breathing vertebrates that include the alligators and crocodiles, lizards, snakes, turtles, and extinct related forms (as dinosaurs and pterosaurs) and are characterized by a completely ossified skeleton with a single occipital condyle, a distinct quadrate bone usually immovably articulated with the skull, ribs attached to the sternum, and a body usually covered with scales or bony plates

  3. 3 :  a groveling or despised person

Examples of reptile in a sentence

  1. He called the governor's top aide a reptile.

  2. <the actor plays a total reptile who's somehow still a hit with the ladies>



Origin and Etymology of reptile

Middle English reptil, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French reptile (feminine), from Late Latin reptile (neuter), from neuter of reptilis creeping, from Latin reptus, past participle of repere to crawl; akin to Lithuanian rėplioti to crawl


First Known Use: 14th century


2

reptile

adjective rep·tile

Definition of reptile

  1. :  characteristic of a reptile :  reptilian



1607

First Known Use of reptile

1607


REPTILE Defined for Kids

reptile

play
noun rep·tile \ˈrep-təl, -ˌtīl\

Definition of reptile for Students

  1. :  a cold-blooded animal (as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that breathes air and usually has the skin covered with scales or bony plates



History for reptile

Most of the animals we call reptiles creep or crawl about. Some, like snakes, crawl about on their bellies. Some, like lizards, creep about on little, short legs. The English word reptile came from a Latin word reptilis that meant “creeping,” which is derived from the verb repere meaning “to crawl.”



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up reptile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

defame placate beat divulge
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ