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

The Texas Game Warden is working to track down the culprit who stuck a knife in an alligator's head. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "$1,000 reward in case of Sugar Land gator stabbed in the head," 20 June 2019 An alligator with a knife stuck in its skull was recently spotted in Fort Bend County, Texas, shocking local residents. Fox News, "Alligator with a knife stuck in its skull sparks concern in Texas community," 15 June 2019 An alligator with a large knife protruding from its head was spotted in a Texas lake, angering residents. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Alligator with knife sticking out of its head spotted swimming in a Texas lake," 14 June 2019 Lane played near the water on the beach at the Grand Floridian when an alligator emerged from Seven Seas Lagoon and pulled him into the water on June 14, 2016. Gabrielle Russon,, "As memory fades of 2016 Disney World gator attack, the charity formed in its wake grows," 14 June 2019 There is a range of musical styles and graphics, including one version that intersperses palm trees and an alligator wearing a red Make America Great Again hat along with more casual images of Trump pointing his index fingers toward the camera. Evan Halper,, "Trump’s big, early lead in Facebook ads deeply worries Democratic strategists," 12 June 2019 The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office said this week a person walking on County Road 2 in the western part of the county spotted an alligator around 10 p.m. Sunday. Leada Gore |,, "Alligator found on North Alabama road; video shows larger gator in Tennessee River," 11 June 2019 Few things are worse than coming home to find an alligator waiting for you at your front door. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Off Topic: O.J., Bieber vs. Cruise?, R.I.P., Bushwick Bill, front door alligator," 10 June 2019 On Thursday, an alligator with an appetite crashed a couple’s lakeside date, munching on everything from guacamole and salami, to an entire block of cheese. Rachel Desantis,, "Alligator Crashes Couple's Florida Picnic, Gobbles Up Their Grapes, Cheese and Guacamole," 4 June 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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Statistics for alligator

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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 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

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to take the place or position of

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