al·​li·​ga·​tor | \ ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər How to pronounce alligator (audio) \

Definition of alligator

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 But there’s also a duck in a Santa hat, an alligator and Patches the Cat who lives at the Grand. Michelle Matthews |, al, "The Grand Hotel’s gingerbread village: Catch it if you can," 17 Dec. 2019 Pittsburgh: Owners of alligators and other dangerous reptiles will be required to register their pets with the city under an ordinance approved this week. USA TODAY, "First Spouse Dolls, Snowstang, sand sculpture: News from around our 50 states," 7 Dec. 2019 Two Florida men were arrested and jailed after one of them caught an alligator and the other poured beer into its mouth and encouraged the reptile to bite him, wildlife officials said, according to news reports. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida man pours beer into alligator’s mouth, encourages it to bite him, officials say," 8 Oct. 2019 New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis detail that President Trump had talked to advisers about fortifying the U.S.-Mexico border with snakes, alligators and spikes. NBC News, "Five important stories the impeachment news has overshadowed," 2 Oct. 2019 His daughter promoted a new luxury store in Kiev named Zlocci - a play on his surname - that was offering crocodile, alligator and ostrich shoes as Ukrainians faced a biting recession. Author: Paul Sonne, Michael Kranish, Matt Viser, Anchorage Daily News, "The Ukrainian gas tycoon and the vice president’s son," 29 Sep. 2019 Within the first few episodes of the show, she’s hand-skinning alligators and pulling out their insides with her raw hands as a means to feed her young while plotting her own revenge against the cult-like organization that did her dirty. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch this weekend: More deaths and drama — get ready to binge 13 Reasons Why," 23 Aug. 2019 Iconic species like the bald eagle, the American alligator, and the brown pelican have recovered and been delisted. Gabriela Chavarria, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Protect the Endangered Species Act — we have too much to lose in Colorado and around the globe," 20 Aug. 2019 Conservationists and some politicians decried the changes as a major rollback of the 46-year old law credited with saving the bald eagle, grizzly bear, humpback whale, American alligator and Florida manatee from extinction., "New Trump rules weaken Endangered Species Act," 12 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of alligator

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Time Traveler for alligator

Time Traveler

The first known use of alligator was in 1591

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Statistics for alligator

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alligator.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for alligator


How to pronounce alligator (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alligator

: 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


al·​li·​ga·​tor | \ ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər How to pronounce alligator (audio) \

Kids Definition of alligator

: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on alligator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alligator

Spanish Central: Translation of alligator

Nglish: Translation of alligator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alligator for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about alligator

Comments on alligator

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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