otter

noun
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 Over the last few centuries, otter numbers in California crashed from 20,000 to 50. Matt Simon, Wired, 4 Nov. 2021 River otter groups are typically comprised of either a mother with young, or associated bachelor males. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 29 Sep. 2021 River otter attacks do happen, but are not considered commonplace, Fish and Game said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2021 For otter experts, the critics are missing the point. Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2021 Painstakingly collecting eelgrass shoots for DNA analysis, Dr. Foster predicted that eelgrass meadows with a longer-term otter presence should have higher levels of genetic diversity. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 River otter attacks do happen, but are not considered commonplace, Fish and Game said. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2021 On the same day at the same lake, an otter attacked a different dog. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 29 Sep. 2021 River otter attacks do happen, but are not considered commonplace, Fish and Game said. CBS News, 28 Sep. 2021

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 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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near otter

Ottawan

otter

Otterbein

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Otter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/otter. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for otter

otter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of otter

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

otter

noun
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

More from Merriam-Webster on otter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for otter

Nglish: Translation of otter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about otter

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