al·​li·​ga·​tor | \ˈa-lə-ˌgā-tər \

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

Currently in Hyde County, no one has been fatally attacked by alligators. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "North Carolina county issues alligator hunting licenses for first time in 45 years," 15 Aug. 2018 Jordan was unable to reach the shoreline as the alligator chased her. NBC News, "Florida deputy shoots alligator to save 15-year-old girl stuck in tree," 3 July 2018 The 14-foot alligator at Newport Aquarium is going home to Florida. Sallee Ann Ruibal,, "3 headlines you may have missed: Bengals beekeeper, Mighty Mike's departure and best wine lists," 9 July 2018 On Tuesday, another ominous tip came in to the newsroom: A small boy had been attacked by an alligator at a Disney resort and dragged away from his family. Jeff Weiner,, "CHRISTINA GRIMMIE: THE MURDER OF A RISING STAR," 2 July 2018 After landing, first responders quickly worked to make sure the alligator near her didn't attack, CBS8 reported. Josh Magness, sacbee, "She went parasailing and crashed next to an alligator. 'She's very lucky to be alive'," 29 June 2018 The alligator has since been taken to an undisclosed location away from the public by Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, the Caller-Times reported. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "8-foot alligator caught outside Walmart was making a midnight run, Texas cops say," 29 June 2018 Two years after 2-year-old Lane Graves was snatched by an alligator and dragged to his death at Disney World in Florida, his family has worked to help other children through a foundation set up in the little boy’s honor. Stephanie Petit,, "Family of Lane Graves Promises to Keep His 'Memory Alive' 2 Years After He Was Killed by Alligator," 14 June 2018 State officials had to close the ramp until the alligator could be moved. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "SC father and son waited in car as 9-foot gator dragged bloody carcass across road," 13 June 2018

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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Statistics for alligator

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alligator

The first known use of alligator was in 1591

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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 \

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

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