1

reptile

noun rep·tile \ ˈrep-ˌtī(-ə)l , -tᵊl \
|Updated on: 12 Jul 2018
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

Examples of reptile in a Sentence

  1. He called the governor's top aide a reptile.

  2. the actor plays a total reptile who's somehow still a hit with the ladies

Recent Examples of reptile from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of reptile

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

2

reptile

adjective
: characteristic of a reptile : reptilian

Recent Examples of reptile from the Web

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.

First Known Use of reptile

1607

in the meaning defined above

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REPTILE Defined for English Language Learners

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

  • : a person who cannot be trusted or who is not likable


REPTILE Defined for Kids

reptile

noun rep·tile \ ˈrep-təl , -ˌtīl \
: 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

History for reptile

Most of the animals we call reptiles creep or crawl about. Some, like snakes, crawl about on their bellies. Some, like lizards, creep about on little, short legs. The English word reptile came from a Latin word reptilis that meant “creeping,” which is derived from the verb repere meaning “to crawl.”


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