reptile

noun
rep·​tile | \ ˈrep-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce reptile (audio) , -tᵊl \

Definition of reptile

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an animal that crawls or moves on its belly (such as a snake) or on small short legs (such as a lizard)
2 : any of a class (Reptilia) of cold-blooded, air-breathing, usually egg-laying vertebrates that include the alligators and crocodiles, lizards, snakes, turtles, and extinct related forms (such as dinosaurs and pterosaurs) and that have a body typically covered with scales or bony plates and a bony skeleton with a single occipital condyle, a distinct quadrate bone usually immovably articulated with the skull, and ribs attached to the sternum
3 : a groveling or despised person

reptile

adjective

Definition of reptile (Entry 2 of 2)

: characteristic of a reptile : reptilian

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for reptile

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of reptile in a Sentence

Noun He called the governor's top aide a reptile. the actor plays a total reptile who's somehow still a hit with the ladies
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The massive reptile had a shell that measured 8 feet in length and could have supported a turtle that weighed more than 2,500 pounds, the researchers noted. Fox News, "10M-year-old turtle had 8-foot-long shell and weighed nearly 2,500 pounds, study says," 13 Feb. 2020 So far, there have been very few clues revealed about the punk-rock-looking reptile: The Turtle is donning a black studded leather jacket and is holding a yellow guitar in one promo for the show. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Turtle on 'The Masked Singer'? Here's the Character's True Identity, According to Fans," 4 Feb. 2020 Iguana's aren't the only reptiles averse to chilly weather: Sea turtles also stiffen up in cold temperature. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Weather service issues alert for falling iguanas as temperatures drop in Florida," 21 Jan. 2020 Passengers scrambled to clear the area before the reptile dropped to the floor, where people trapped it with blankets provided by a flight attendant, according to The Guardian. Andrea Wurzburger, PEOPLE.com, "11 Horrifying Times Animals Made Their Way Onto Airplanes," 10 Dec. 2019 Stone and Gifford initially spotted a 12-foot gator but the reptile eluded them. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "Wheelchair-bound east Alabama woman reels in 8 1/2-foot alligator on Lake Eufaula," 11 Oct. 2019 But sulcatas aren’t the only reptiles rehabbed at the ranch. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "A veteran’s gratitude to a tortoise inspired unusual rescue group," 29 Aug. 2019 Iguanas, which are an invasive species in South Florida, sometimes sleep in trees, and when temperatures drop into the 40s, their bodies go dormant, which can result in the falling reptiles. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "National Weather Service warns Floridians about falling iguanas," 21 Jan. 2020 The reptiles were taken to the Brookfield Zoo to verify their species, and for housing and veterinary care, the complaint states. Linda Satter, Arkansas Online, "Grand jury indicts central Arkansas man tied to salamander imports," 8 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While reptile sightings might appear to be a recent trend, Wathne said that the prevalence of social media has likely served to increase awareness of an always-present problem. Nicole Blackwood, chicagotribune.com, "The alligator in Humboldt Park might have been a pet, but experts say dumping exotic animals is never the answer," 10 July 2019 While reptile sightings might appear to be a recent trend, Wathne said that the prevalence of social media has likely served to increase awareness of an always-present problem. Nicole Blackwood, chicagotribune.com, "The alligator in Humboldt Park might have been a pet, but experts say dumping exotic animals is never the answer," 10 July 2019 And hey, anything is possible — well, maybe not reptile babies. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "The Most Ridiculous Taylor Swift Conspiracy Theories," 28 Aug. 2017 Reptile world An exploration of snakes, lizards and their relatives. Jillian S. Jarrett, Washington Post, "What’s happening in Prince George's County," 26 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reptile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of reptile

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reptile

Noun

Middle English reptil, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French reptile (feminine), from Late Latin reptile (neuter), from neuter of reptilis creeping, from Latin reptus, past participle of repere to crawl; akin to Lithuanian rėplioti to crawl

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reptile

Time Traveler for reptile

Time Traveler

The first known use of reptile was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for reptile

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reptile.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reptile. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reptile

reptile

noun
How to pronounce reptile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reptile

: an animal (such as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that has cold blood, that lays eggs, and that has a body covered with scales or hard parts
informal : a person who cannot be trusted or who is not likable

reptile

noun
rep·​tile | \ ˈrep-təl How to pronounce reptile (audio) , -ˌtīl \

Kids Definition of reptile

: a cold-blooded animal (as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that breathes air and usually has the skin covered with scales or bony plates

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on reptile

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!