alligator

noun
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 their actions do bowfishers, already under fire from some quarters concerning their targeting of alligator gar, a disservice that could well see their recreation face increased regulation. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Boat ramps a gateway to fun or frustration," 28 June 2018 But some of its cousins, like the crocodiles and alligators, persist today, as do the descendants of dinosaurs: birds. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Found in the Cold Mountains of Antarctica: A Warm Weather Lizard Fossil," 31 Jan. 2019 Jolie and Jack's first bout of flirting is about the difference between crocodiles and alligators. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "26 Times the One Tree Hill Lifetime Christmas Movie Will Remind You of, Well, One Tree Hill," 23 Nov. 2018 Police say officers arrived within minutes and that three officers jumped into the lake, which is known to contain alligators and snakes. Fox News, "Dramatic video shows police pulling woman from car sinking in Texas lake," 2 Oct. 2018 The modern version, which costs about $7,000 to $52,000, has been updated with interchangeable straps made of steel, gold, calfskin or alligator skin. Maghan Mcdowell, San Francisco Chronicle, "Cartier’s boldface foray into SF designed to dazzle," 13 Apr. 2018 Also stolen was a black 2001 E-Z-Go Workhorse golf cart with alligator skin seats and a 2,500-pound Badland Winch. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Wellington Area Crime Log: Dec. 10-23," 6 Feb. 2018 An alligator is reportedly on the loose in a New Jersey township, and authorities are warning residents to be cautious. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "Alligator spotted in New Jersey township, police warn," 19 Sep. 2018 An alligator living in a sewer plant would be unique, even in the South. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Alligator caught living at Pennsylvania sewer plant, fueling talk of urban legend," 26 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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Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for alligator

The first known use of alligator was in 1591

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More Definitions for alligator

alligator

noun

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

alligator

noun
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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about alligator

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