Definition of manatee
: 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
Recent Examples of manatee from the Web
Could Pezosiren, an Eocene relative of modern manatees from the rock of Jamaica and described by D.P. Domnig in 2001, have moved in a similar fashion?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'manatee'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of manatee
Spanish manatí, probably of Carib origin; akin to Antillean Carib manattoüi manatee
First Known Use: 1555See Words from the same year
MANATEE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of manatee for English Language Learners
: a large animal that lives in warm waters and eats plants
MANATEE Defined for Kids
Definition of manatee for Students
: a mainly tropical water-dwelling mammal that eats plants and has a broad rounded tail
Seen and Heard
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