ot·​ter | \ ˈä-tər How to pronounce otter (audio) \
plural otters also otter

Definition of otter

1 : any of various largely aquatic carnivorous mammals (such as genus Lutra or Enhydra) of the weasel family that usually have webbed and clawed feet and dark brown fur
2 : the fur or pelt of an otter

Illustration of otter

Illustration of otter

otter 1

Examples of otter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the 1930s, the otters were discovered and protected. Tom Stienstra,, "Bears, elk, sharks crown landmark wildlife surge," 17 Aug. 2019 This interview took place between the otter feeding display and some rather lovely coral at the Oceanário de Lisboa during the Global Exploration Summit in Lisbon. Georgia Frances King, Quartz, "Are aquariums moral? It’s complicated, says Jacques Cousteau’s grandson," 16 Aug. 2019 Much of an otter’s behavior is not instinctual but is learned by watching mom. Kelli Bender,, "Orphaned Otter Pups Find Comfort in Cuddly Naps Together at Shedd Aquarium," 30 July 2019 The real crux of the show, which is hidden beneath all the strange kappa and otter mythological imagery, is personal and human. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Best Anime of 2019: an ongoing list," 16 Aug. 2019 The life expectancy of otters in captivity is around 18-20 years. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "North Carolina Aquarium Mourns Loss of Famous River Otter," 2 Aug. 2019 There are several reasons why the cooling canals of Turkey Point make for a fruitful habitat for crocs and other animals—like snakes, otters, raccoons and manatees, which have also taken up residence there, according to Swartz. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Why Florida Crocs Are Thriving Outside a Nuclear Power Plant," 23 July 2019 Because the cat may have spread the rabies to other animals, the department advised that people in the affected area avoid stray cats and dogs as well as wildlife such as raccoons, bats, foxes, skunks, otters, bobcats and coyotes. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Rabies alert issued for Disney's Epcot Center after infected cat scratches performers," 11 July 2019 Birds like woodpeckers, heron, egrets, ibis, coots, ducks and osprey can be found in the park along with alligators, otters and manatees. Patrick Connolly,, "Florida Springs Guide: De Leon Springs State Park," 10 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'otter.' 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 otter

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for otter

Middle English oter, from Old English otor; akin to Old High German ottar otter, Greek hydōr water — more at water

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Dictionary Entries near otter






otter board

otter canoe

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for otter

The first known use of otter was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of otter

: an animal that has dark brown fur and webbed feet with claws and that eats fish


ot·​ter | \ ˈä-tər How to pronounce otter (audio) \

Kids Definition of otter

: a web-footed animal that lives mostly in the water, feeds on fish, and has dark brown fur

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More from Merriam-Webster on otter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with otter

Spanish Central: Translation of otter

Nglish: Translation of otter for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about otter

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to spread over or through

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