leath·​er·​back ˈle-t͟hər-ˌbak How to pronounce leatherback (audio)
: 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 While snorkeling, other marine marvels include Great Barracudas and graceful leatherback turtles, to dozens of other fish. Claire Volkman, Robb Report, 26 Mar. 2024 This season, California officials said six whale entanglements have been confirmed, and a dead Pacific leatherback sea turtle that got snarled in old gear from a previous year was discovered off the Farallon Islands on Nov. 24. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, 11 Jan. 2024 The nesting season for leatherback sea turtles runs from March to July. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 27 June 2023 Once common all over the world’s oceans, leatherbacks now exist in only seven populations worldwide. Nina Burleigh, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Jan. 2024 Despite this, Trail hypothesizes that leatherback vision was adapted for their lives as adults, with those later-life benefits coming at the cost of early-life struggles. Darren Incorvaia, Discover Magazine, 3 May 2022 Four other sculptures, created by Grenadian artist Troy Lewis, were also installed, including one depicting the endangered leatherback turtle. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Dec. 2023 Late at night, the team waits for leatherbacks to creep up the beaches. Kate Armanini, BostonGlobe.com, 20 June 2023 Needless to say, such measures won't safeguard the giant leatherback turtles that nest on Great Nicobar Island, nor preserve the heritage and livelihoods of the Indigenous tribal communities who have called it home for millennia. Chirag Dhara, Scientific American, 8 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'leatherback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of leatherback was circa 1855

Dictionary Entries Near leatherback

Cite this Entry

“Leatherback.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leatherback. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


leath·​er·​back ˈlet͟h-ər-ˌbak How to pronounce leatherback (audio)
: the largest existing sea turtle with a shell composed of small bones embedded in a thick leathery skin
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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