tuatara

noun tu·a·ta·ra \ ˌtü-ə-ˈtär-ə \

Definition of tuatara

plural tuatara or tuataras
:a large spiny quadrupedal reptile (Sphenodon punctatum) of islands off the coast of New Zealand that has a vestigial third eye in the middle of the forehead representing the pineal gland and that is the only surviving rhynchocephalian

Recent Examples of tuatara from the Web

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

Illustration of tuatara

Origin and Etymology of tuatara

Maori tuatàra


Learn More about tuatara


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak evil of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!