Gila monster


Gi·​la monster ˈhē-lə- How to pronounce Gila monster (audio)
: a large, stout, venomous lizard (Heloderma suspectum) that has rough, bumpy, black and orange, pinkish, or yellowish skin, a thick tail, and venom glands in the lower lip and that is found especially in arid regions of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico

Illustration of Gila monster

Illustration of gila monster

Examples of Gila monster in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The rarity of Gila monster envenomation and low fatality rate may contribute to the lack of antivenom. Scott Travers, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 Ward's girlfriend told investigators that the couple bought Winston at a reptile exhibit in October and their other Gila monster from a breeder in Arizona, per the AP, citing the report. Brian Brant, Peoplemag, 21 Feb. 2024 Some animals, such as the Gila monster, have become adept at storing water within their bodies. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Dec. 2023 Bizarrely, the discovery grew out of research into the curative properties of Gila monster saliva. Robert Goulder, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 The revered surrounding area is home to a Joshua tree forest and provides key habitats for the desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and Gila monster. Nick Roll, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Apr. 2023 For example, exenatide is a treatment for type-2 diabetes based on Gila monster venom, ziconotide is a pain medication based on cone snail venom and desirudin is a blood thinner used to treat blood clots in a deep vein based on leech toxins. Jason P. Dinh, Discover Magazine, 21 Oct. 2022 The vision includes developing a new Gateway Building near the front gate, likely to feature indoor and outdoor habitats for amphibians and reptiles, including possible new additions like a Gila monster and Asian water monitor, according to the master plan. Christine Condon, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 Other state symbols include the elk and the state reptile, which is the Gila monster. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Gila monster.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Gila River, Arizona

First Known Use

1877, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Gila monster was in 1877

Dictionary Entries Near Gila monster

Cite this Entry

“Gila monster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Gila monster

Gi·​la monster ˌhē-lə- How to pronounce Gila monster (audio)
: a large orange and black poisonous lizard of the southwestern U.S.
also : a related Mexican lizard

from Gila, name of a river in Arizona

Medical Definition

Gila monster

Gi·​la monster ˈhē-lə- How to pronounce Gila monster (audio)
: a large orange and black venomous lizard of the genus Heloderma (H. suspectum) of the southwestern United States

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