ma·​ta·​ma·​ta | \ ˌmatəməˈtä \
plural -s

Definition of matamata

1 : a pleurodiran turtle (Chelus fimbriata) of Guiana and the northern part of Brazil that reaches a length of three feet, has a rough shell and a long neck with fleshy fimbriae on the neck and on the head, and produces eggs that yield an edible oil
2 : any of several South American trees of the genus Eschweilera of the family Lecythidaceae especially : a tree yielding a heavy hard compact wood used for pilings and foundation construction

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History and Etymology for matamata

Portuguese matamatá, from Tupi

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Cite this Entry

“Matamata.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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