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
Docile manatees were malicious mermaids that lured men at sea to their deaths.
He's researched species as varied as deer, ruffed grouse and Florida manatees.
The lovable beast looks more like a manatee with cute canine features (including adorably floppy ears) and a tendency to purr like a cat when happy.
Okja is technically a pig but also shares her lineage with hippos, elephants and manatees, the gentle sea cows that largely inspired her not-very-porcine face.
Looking to educate its guests about animals, SeaWorld has opened its manatee rehab center to public viewing.
A trolley tour is offered on weekends in the summer, and then daily during manatee season from November-March.
The Indian River Lagoon is repeatedly being choked with oxygen-robbing algae, its surface increasingly dotted with thousands of dead fish, manatees, birds and other creatures.
And its surface is increasingly dotted with dead fish, manatees, birds and other creatures.
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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