alligator

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noun al·li·ga·tor \ ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər \

Definition of alligator

1 a :either of two crocodilians (Alligator mississippiensis of the southeastern U.S. and A. sinensis of China) having broad heads not tapering to the snout and a special pocket in the upper jaw for reception of the enlarged lower fourth tooth
2 :leather made from alligator hide

Recent Examples of alligator from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alligator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Illustration of alligator

Origin and Etymology of alligator

Spanish el lagarto the lizard, from el the (from Latin ille that) + lagarto lizard, from Vulgar Latin *lacartus, from Latin lacertus, lacerta — more at lizard


ALLIGATOR Defined for English Language Learners

alligator

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noun

Definition of alligator for English Language Learners

  • : a large reptile that has a long body, thick skin, and sharp teeth, that lives in the tropical parts of the U.S. and China, and that is related to crocodiles

  • : the skin of an alligator used for making shoes and other products


ALLIGATOR Defined for Kids

alligator

play
noun al·li·ga·tor \ ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər \

Definition of alligator for Students

:a large short-legged reptile that has a long body, thick skin, a long broad snout, and sharp teeth and is related to the crocodile and lizards


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