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

An adult Kemp's ridley may weigh less than most teenagers, while a leatherback can outweigh a bison. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Sea turtles are being born mostly female due to warming—will they survive?," 4 Apr. 2019 Each year, team members and volunteers rescue nearly 100 loggerhead, leatherback and green sea turtles and thousands of hatchlings along the South Florida coast. Catie Wegman, sun-sentinel.com, "SummerTimeOut: Turtle tours at Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach," 26 June 2019 Tracking studies have shown that leatherbacks migrate from Indonesian beaches across the Pacific to feed on jellyfish in California waters. Gary Robbins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's scientists span the globe to unearth new discoveries, solve deepest mysteries," 15 Apr. 2018 North Carolina State Parks and Recreation shared photos of the new leatherback nest on Facebook, which is garnering plenty of excitement from the locals. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "World’s Largest Turtle Returns to North Carolina to Nest," 24 May 2018 In 2013, 26-year-old conservationist Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered while trying to protect leatherback sea turtle nests on Costa Rica’s east coast from egg poachers. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Best Stories We've Ever Told," 25 May 2018 Gigantic leatherback turtles, topping out at about 2,000 pounds, nest along the beaches, while hippopotamuses body surf in the waves. Alexandra Wexler, WSJ, "A Next-Level Safari Vacation: The Africa Few Adventurers See," 9 May 2018 Although leatherback populations in the Atlantic are generally increasing, with some fluctuations here and there, their outlook in the Pacific is far grimmer, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Fight begins over fate of leatherback sea turtle," 23 Mar. 2018 Each summer, two to three dozen sea turtles — sadly, mostly leatherbacks hit by ship propellers or entangled in fishing gear — wash up between Buzzards Bay and Harding’s Beach in Chatham, and along Cape Cod Bay, Prescott says. Susan Moeller, BostonGlobe.com, "A beachcombing guide: Things to find at the beach," 2 May 2018

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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Last Updated

29 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for leatherback

The first known use of leatherback was circa 1855

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not constant or steady

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