leath·​er·​back | \ ˈle-t͟hər-ˌbak How to pronounce leatherback (audio) \

Definition of leatherback

: the largest existing sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) distinguished by its flexible carapace composed of a mosaic of small bones embedded in a thick leathery skin

Illustration of leatherback

Illustration of leatherback

Examples of leatherback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Every spring, Florida’s shoreline welcomes a swath of seaworthy visitors: female leatherback turtles, crawling ashore to swaddle their eggs in the sand. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "COVID-19 Restrictions May Boost Leatherback Sea Turtle Nesting," 24 Apr. 2020 Vulnerable leatherback sea turtles are flourishing on a South Florida beach amid the coronavirus lockdown. Fox News, "Vulnerable sea turtles flourishing during coronavirus restrictions in Florida," 23 Apr. 2020 Nesting season for leatherback turtles, the largest of all sea turtles, is underway right now mostly in the central east and southeast coast of Florida, according to Godfrey. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Sea turtles are thriving as coronavirus lockdown empties Florida beaches," 18 Apr. 2020 Hungry leatherbacks mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Sea turtles are surviving—despite us," 20 Sep. 2019 Marine leatherback turtles can weigh between 550 and 1,150 pounds. Fox News, "10M-year-old turtle had 8-foot-long shell and weighed nearly 2,500 pounds, study says," 13 Feb. 2020 There are three species of sea turtles that nest on South Florida beaches: green turtles, leatherbacks and loggerheads, with the latter being the most common in the region. Johnny Diaz, sun-sentinel.com, "Baby sea turtle found dead in South Florida had 104 pieces of plastic in its body," 4 Oct. 2019 From Kemp’s ridleys no bigger than car tires to leatherbacks that can outweigh polar bears, six of the world’s seven sea turtle species are considered vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Sea turtles are surviving—despite us," 20 Sep. 2019 Two earlier leatherbacks were found on Horseneck Beach in Westport and along the Marion coastline, Prescott said. BostonGlobe.com, "A half-dozen endangered leatherback turtles have been found dead along the Massachusetts coast since mid-September, including three found off Cape Cod Bay in the last two weeks, as this largest turtle species expands its territory northward among warming waters, a researcher said.," 11 Oct. 2019

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

circa 1855, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for leatherback

Time Traveler

The first known use of leatherback was circa 1855

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Cite this Entry

“Leatherback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leatherback. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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