ot·​ter | \ˈä-tər \
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

An invitation from him to spend a day in the country conjures visions of a romantic picnic, but turns out to be a damp, cold, picnic-less, seemingly endless and terribly funny trek to observe otters. Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, "‘Transcription’ Review: Heard During Wartime," 20 Sep. 2018 Three years ago, Mishka the otter learned a potentially life-saving trick: breathe deeply through an inhaler. Sean Quinton, The Seattle Times, "Mishka the asthmatic otter at Seattle Aquarium has mastered her inhaler to get through the haze," 24 Aug. 2018 Watch Planet Earth unfold in real-time under towering Cecropia trees as macaws and parrots call overhead and giant otters scramble for cover. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 8 Best Experiential Eco-Lodges in South America," 19 Jan. 2018 Wildlife managers can use that information to help manage otter populations in the wild. Gogo Lidz, Newsweek, "How Aquariums Can Actually Save Animals in the Wild," 21 Sep. 2015 Animals included lions in Tanzania, otters in Brazil, coyotes in California, wild boars in Poland and tigers in Nepal. Washington Post, "Many animals are shifting from day to night to avoid people," 15 June 2018 Her boat house attracts an otter whose only purpose there seems to be relieving himself. Walter Reeves, ajc, "Rose black spot can be controlled," 11 July 2018 Biologists had no reports last year of dead ducks, otters, raccoons or other animals that eat mussels. Tim Prudente,, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 Take a day trip to Resurrection or Kachemak Bay or an overnighter to Prince William Sound to observe whales, otters, sea lions, glaciers and towering peaks. Yoshina Okamoto, Anchorage Daily News, "Want to get off the beaten path in Alaska? Get on the water instead," 2 May 2018

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

Statistics for otter

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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What made you want to look up otter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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