otter

noun

ot·​ter ˈä-tər How to pronounce otter (audio)
plural otters also 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 They were brought to combat the coyotes and help protect the other creatures that inhabit the island, such as egrets, otters, and snakes. Krissy Tiglias, Southern Living, 6 July 2024 The five-acre habitat will also be home to the other elephants as well as Asian small-clawed otters, siamangs and birds native to Asia. Bebe Hodges, The Enquirer, 29 June 2024 And competition for food and space could displace otters, West Indian manatees, capybaras and turtles. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June 2024 The area is home to thousands of endangered or unusual species, including jaguars, capybaras, black caimans, giant otters and hyacinth macaws. Aditi Sangal, CNN, 14 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for otter 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'otter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English otre, oter, otir, going back to Old English otr, oter, otor, going back to Germanic *utra- (whence also Middle Dutch otter "otter," Old High German ottar, Old Norse otr), going back to Indo-European *ud-r-o- "aquatic animal" (whence also Sanskrit udráḥ "aquatic animal, otter," Avestan udra-) with a feminine variant *ud-r-eh2-, whence Latin lutra "otter" (with unetymological l- and -t-), Russian výdra, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian vȉdra, Lithuanian ū́dra, Old Prussian udro (Balto-Slavic with vowel lengthening and acute accent), Greek hýdra "aquatic snake, hydra" (also hýdros "the grass snake Natrix natrix," énydris "otter"); both forms zero-grade derivatives of Indo-European *u̯ód-r-/*u̯ed-n- "water" — more at water entry 1

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near otter

Cite this Entry

“Otter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/otter. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

otter

noun
ot·​ter ˈät-ər How to pronounce otter (audio)
plural otter or otters
1
: any of several water-dwelling mammals that are related to the weasels and minks, have webbed feet with claws and dark brown fur, and feed on other animals (as fish, clams, and crabs) that live in or near the water compare sea otter
2
: the fur or pelt of an otter

More from Merriam-Webster on otter

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