snapping turtle


: either of two large American freshwater turtles (family Chelydridae) with a large head, powerful jaws, a long tail, and a strong musky odor:
: one (Chelydra serpentina) that has the head covered with smooth skin, has large plates in a double row on the underside of the tail, and is distributed from eastern Canada to Central America

Illustration of snapping turtle

Illustration of snapping turtle
  • snapping turtle a

Examples of snapping turtle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to the Daily Pilot, wildlife officials in California are blaming a snapping turtle for mutilating five ducks and geese at a public park over the course of a year. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 9 Nov. 2023 Though snapping turtles may decapitate prey, they are not known to be aggressive toward humans unless threatened. Brieanna J. Frank, USA TODAY, 19 July 2023 These Indiana men hunt for snapping turtles with their bare hands Rather than stopping the industry from scooping up all the mussels, the pair took a different approach. The Indianapolis Star, 5 Sep. 2023 Compared to the white tail and jowl meat, the legs of alligators and snapping turtles both are much darker, fattier, and tougher. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 9 Aug. 2023 He was also ordered to forfeit interest in the tiger, alligator and 12 snapping turtles that were taken away back in January. Fernando Cervantes Jr., The Arizona Republic, 27 July 2023 Between mud, darkness, and snapping turtles, the world of the pond was at first one of anxiety for her. Liam Archacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 July 2023 An alligator and a dozen snapping turtles were seized and turned over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Fernando Cervantes Jr., The Arizona Republic, 27 July 2023 Watch: Grizzly Bear Released from Trap Steals Camera As the video caption points out, snapping turtles are omnivorous. Katie Hill, Outdoor Life, 13 July 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1784, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of snapping turtle was in 1784

Dictionary Entries Near snapping turtle

Cite this Entry

“Snapping turtle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

snapping turtle

: either of two large American freshwater turtles that have a large head, powerful jaws, and a long tail

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