manatee

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noun man·a·tee \ˈma-nə-ˌtē\

Definition of manatee

  1. :  any of a genus (Trichechus of the family Trichechidae) of large, herbivorous, aquatic mammals that inhabit warm coastal and inland waters of the southeastern U.S., West Indies, northern South America, and West Africa and have a rounded body, a small head with a squarish snout, paddle-shaped flippers usually with vestigial nails, and a flattened, rounded tail used for propulsion Manatees are sirenians related to and resembling the dugong but differing most notably in the shape of the tail. An aquatic relative of the elephant, manatees grow up to nine feet long and can weigh 1,000 pounds. — Felicity Barringer

Illustration of manatee

Origin and Etymology of manatee

Spanish manatí, probably of Carib origin; akin to Antillean Carib manattoüi manatee


First Known Use: 1555


MANATEE Defined for English Language Learners

manatee

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noun man·a·tee \ˈma-nə-ˌtē\

Definition of manatee for English Language Learners

  • : a large animal that lives in warm waters and eats plants


MANATEE Defined for Kids

manatee

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noun man·a·tee \ˈma-nə-ˌtē\

Definition of manatee for Students

  1. :  a mainly tropical water-dwelling mammal that eats plants and has a broad rounded tail


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