alligator

noun

al·​li·​ga·​tor ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər How to pronounce alligator (audio)
1
: either of two large carnivorous, thick-skinned, long-bodied, aquatic, crocodilian reptiles (Alligator mississippiensis of the southeastern U.S. and A. sinensis of China) that have a broad head with a slightly tapered, long, rounded, U-shaped snout and a special pocket in the upper jaw for reception of the enlarged lower fourth tooth
broadly : crocodilian
2
: leather made from alligator hide

Illustration of alligator

Illustration of alligator
  • alligator 1

Examples of alligator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The authorities quickly removed the alligator from Hollenback's house. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 9 Apr. 2024 The voracious Burmese python has done widespread damage to the Everglades food chain, pretty much wiping out populations of small mammals like marsh bunnies and gulping down everything from birds to alligators. Ashley Miznazi, Miami Herald, 8 Apr. 2024 On her wrist, Olsen toted a Lady Bag in black alligator. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 5 Apr. 2024 The Palatial can be equipped with a signature six-link bracelet or an alligator strap. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 26 Mar. 2024 The beach is also connected to a larger 185-acre park with a boardwalk for those who want to spot wildlife like muskrats, deer, alligators, and native bird species. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2024 The caller said his younger brother had caught an alligator from a lake north of Knoxville. Bob McNally, Outdoor Life, 20 Mar. 2024 In the news Tony Cavallaro, 64, of Hamburg, N.Y., had his pet alligator, Albert Edward, removed from his home, as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a Facebook post the 34-year-old reptile was housed there illegally. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 20 Mar. 2024 This loop is popular for spotting alligators and turtles from a safe distance. Jp Shaffer, Miami Herald, 26 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of alligator was in 1591

Dictionary Entries Near alligator

Cite this Entry

“Alligator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alligator. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

alligator

noun
al·​li·​ga·​tor ˈal-ə-ˌgāt-ər How to pronounce alligator (audio)
1
: either of two large short-legged reptiles resembling crocodiles but having a shorter and broader snout
2
: leather made from alligator's hide
Etymology

from Spanish el lagarto "the lizard"

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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