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

The analysis revealed that two of the extinct species were, like the caiman, carnivorous. The Economist, "Vegetarian crocodiles once roamed the world," 28 June 2019 Board a boat at Atalaya and cruise even deeper into the rainforest, on the lookout for monkeys, giant anteaters, tapirs, ocelots, armadillos, peccaries, caimans, and the numerous bird species that inhabit Manú National Park. National Geographic, "Peru & the Amazon High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 Sir Francis Drake gave the Caymans their present name in 1586 when dangerous caiman crocodilians with an appetite for British sailors freely roamed these isles in large numbers. Erik Heinrich,, "Kittiwake wreck dive and Stingray City are unforgettable adventures – even if you do get bit," 16 May 2018 Also nestled in the back of the park are hundreds of other alligators of varying ages as well as other related species including caiman, African crocodiles, snapper turtles, African tortoises and more. Richard Tribou,, "Explore Florida's Glades County: Gators to the left, Crocs to the right," 6 May 2018 Immediately afterwards, her partner, Max, points out a huge caiman. Steve Helling,, "Naked and Afraid Survivalists Go Head to Head with A 'Huge' Caiman," 8 Apr. 2018 Alligators, along with crocodiles, caiman and other similar reptiles, are federally protected. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Houston alligator run over by vehicle, dismembered for souvenirs, report says," 3 Apr. 2018 The specimens mostly belonged to extinct crocodilians, which is the supergroup that encompasses both alligators and crocodiles, as well as caimans and gharials. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "A Newly Discovered Difference Between Alligators and Crocodiles," 12 Mar. 2018 Elsewhere in the world, there are several observations of crocodilians—a group that includes alligators, crocodiles, and caimans—duking it out with elasmobranchs. National Geographic, "Alligators Attack and Eat Sharks, Study Confirms," 20 Sep. 2017

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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Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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The first known use of caiman was in 1577

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

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