cai·​man | \ ˈkā-mən How to pronounce caiman (audio) ; kā-ˈman, kī- \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of caiman

: any of several Central and South American crocodilians (genera Caiman, Melanosuchus, and Paleosuchus) similar to alligators

Examples of caiman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In an exclusive first look at the trailer for season 2 of NatGeo's Uncharted, the risk-keen chef tucks into some bull riding, caiman hunting, and tarantula grilling all in the name of finding new flavors. Ruth Kinane,, "Watch Gordon Ramsay grill tarantulas in first Uncharted season 2 trailer," 29 Apr. 2020 Or skim around the waterways and look out for birds, turtles, caimans and other wildlife. New York Times, "52 Places, Virtually," 14 Apr. 2020 Despite their size, giant bite marks in the shells show that predators, including massive alligator-like caimans, weren't deterred by the animal's huge shield. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Biggest turtle that ever lived had 10 foot shell with horns," 12 Feb. 2020 Prominent ones included the four-foot gator pulled out of Kissena Lake in Queens in 1997 (above), and the two-foot-long caiman caught in Central Park in 2001. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, "The Truth About Alligators in the Sewers of New York," 26 Feb. 2020 This prehistoric caiman could grow to weigh more than 18,000 pounds and be just over 40 feet in length from snout to tail. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "This Prehistoric Mega Turtle Was a Big Boy," 17 Feb. 2020 Its diet was diverse, including small animals — fishes, caimans, snakes — as well as mollusks and vegetation, particularly fruits and seeds. Washington Post, "Fossils of car-size ancient turtles found in South America," 15 Feb. 2020 The horns would also have been useful defense against predators like 40-foot crocodile-like caimans that were longer than a standard telephone pole is tall. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Gigantic Turtles Fought Epic Battles 10 Million Years Ago—and Have the Scars to Prove It," 13 Feb. 2020 Andueza was heading out for a slog through a swamp where pit vipers patrol the undergrowth and carnivorous caimans, hidden in dark pools, eye passersby. Daniel Grossman, Scientific American, "Peru’s Peatlands Could Greatly Accelerate Global Warming," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caiman.' 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 caiman

1577, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caiman

Spanish caimán, probably from Carib caymán

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Time Traveler for caiman

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The first known use of caiman was in 1577

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Statistics for caiman

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Caiman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with caiman Encyclopedia article about caiman

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