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

An alligator wearing a vest is not an investigator. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: June 6, 2019," 6 June 2019 The incident took place on May 15th, and the alligator was noted on the flight line and pickup was handled by the base wildlife manager. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Rogue Alligator Wandered onto a Florida Air Force Base," 15 May 2019 Also not for everyone — LeBron James wasn’t THAT generous — was the $41,000 grey alligator Mr. Thom bag James carries. Ellen Warren,, "Still puzzled by the shrunken men's suit?," 20 June 2018 She was bitten and likely killed by an alligator that was later captured, wildlife officials said Friday. CBS News, "Search teams find body of woman missing in suspected alligator attack," 9 June 2018 The lobby of the train station, for example, once included two pools, both home to alligators. Carson Bear, USA TODAY, "Historic train stations converted into hotels," 1 May 2018 Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida, is home to many wild animals, one of which is a 12-foot alligator. Michelle Profis, Country Living, "Holy Cow! Here's a Video of the Biggest Alligator We've Ever Seen," 19 Jan. 2017 This month, Majlak moved into Paul’s home, which the YouTuber celebrated by planting an actual alligator in Majlak’s room. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Meet the babysitter who helps Logan Paul stay out of trouble on YouTube," 3 Dec. 2018 Other famous cases include a 1997 removal of an alligator from a Naperville golf course and a 2010 capture of a wild turkey which was reportedly playing chicken with Lake Bluff motorists. Graydon Megan,, "Garon Fyffe, naturalist and animal expert, dies," 2 July 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

10 Jun 2019

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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 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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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