manatee

noun
man·​a·​tee | \ ˈma-nə-ˌtē How to pronounce manatee (audio) \

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

Note: 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

Illustration of manatee

Examples of manatee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The red tide began last October off southwest Florida after Hurricane Irma swept up the state, killing massive numbers of fish, along with scores of sea turtles and the state’s beloved manatees. Jennifer Kay, The Seattle Times, "Experts: Hurricane Michael failed to end Florida’s red tide," 15 Oct. 2018 The algae turns the water toxic for marine life, and in recent weeks beachgoers have been horrified to find turtles, large fish like goliath grouper and even manatees wash up dead. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Devastating toxic algae bloom plagues Florida’s Gulf Coast," 14 Aug. 2018 The algae turns the water toxic for marine life, and in recent weeks beachgoers have discovered turtles, large fish, and even manatees washed up dead. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Red tide along Florida's Gulf Coast leads Gov. Scott to declare state of emergency," 15 Aug. 2018 Snorkel in the hopes of seeing a rare dugong, India’s version of a manatee, but stay content with the rays and turtles that are more likely. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "Why India’s Andaman Islands Could Be the New Maldives," 4 Jan. 2019 This year, only 79 manatees have died due to boat injuries. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "In first 8 months of year, manatee death toll surpasses 2017," 20 Aug. 2018 This summer’s red tide has already caused the deaths of hundreds of sea turtles, as well as large fish like goliath grouper and even manatees. James Rogers, Fox News, "Red tide crisis: The science behind the toxic algae bloom on Florida's Gulf Coast," 15 Aug. 2018 In Florida, the culprit is a specific dinoflagellate known as Karenia brevis, or K. brevis, which produces 12 neurotoxins that can kill marine animals including fish, turtles, sea birds, manatees, and dolphins. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Are Red Tides and Why Are They Getting Worse?," 14 Aug. 2018 Paddle Boarding Intracoastal Adventures: Come out for a fun paddle along the mangroves to look for fish, turtles, and manatees, 9-11 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 19, weather permitting. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Boca Raton area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of manatee

1555, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for manatee

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

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Dictionary Entries near manatee

Manassite

manat

man-at-arms

manatee

manatee grass

Manatí

Manatus

Statistics for manatee

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for manatee

The first known use of manatee was in 1555

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More Definitions for manatee

manatee

noun

English Language Learners Definition of manatee

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

manatee

noun
man·​a·​tee | \ ˈma-nə-ˌtē How to pronounce manatee (audio) \

Kids Definition of manatee

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on manatee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with manatee

Spanish Central: Translation of manatee

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about manatee

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