igua·​na i-ˈgwä-nə How to pronounce iguana (audio)
: any of various large chiefly herbivorous usually green or brownish tropical American lizards (family Iguanidae, the iguana family) that have a serrated dorsal crest and large dewlap
broadly : any of various large lizards

Illustration of iguana

Illustration of iguana

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Standing in a boat in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Chris Whitaker aimed a .25 caliber air rifle at a large green iguana on a canal bank and squeezed the trigger. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, 25 Feb. 2022 In their motion, Patterson's attorneys Frank Vasconcelos and Carey Haughwout said their client was trying to save an iguana from getting run over by cars. Amir Vera And Jamiel Lynch, CNN, 2 June 2021 In the next car in the Trump train of vehicles was a 3- or 4-foot iguana balanced on the driver’s arm. Liz Bowie, baltimoresun.com, 18 Oct. 2020 Female iguanas can lay nearly 80 eggs a year, and South Florida’s warm climate is perfect for the prehistoric-looking animals. Time, 22 Jan. 2020 Within a year, the spill had caused the island’s native iguana population to fall by 62 percent—from 25,000 to 10,000—according to a Princeton University study. Popular Science, 21 Jan. 2020 The behavior is something called apparent death, and TONS of species use it as a defense mechanism—plenty of amphibians, iguanas, sharks, pigeons, chickens, butterflies, beetles, ants, bees, stick bugs... Popular Science, 11 Mar. 2020 And people in South Florida are warned to be on guard against falling iguanas, as temperatures reach unusual lows. CNN, 22 Jan. 2020 The contamination last January killed fish, frogs, iguanas, even a manatee. Larry Barszewski, sun-sentinel.com, 7 Dec. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iguana.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Spanish, from Arawak & Carib iwana

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of iguana was in 1555

Dictionary Entries Near iguana

Cite this Entry

“Iguana.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/iguana. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



igua·​na i-ˈgwän-ə How to pronounce iguana (audio)
: any of various large plant-eating tropical American lizards that have a ridge of tall scales along the middle of the back and loose skin hanging below the neck

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