Definition of alligator in English:



  • 1A large semiaquatic reptile similar to a crocodile but with a broader and shorter head, native to the Americas and China.

    Genus Alligator, family Alligatoridae, order Crocodylia: the American alligator (A. mississippiensis) and the Chinese alligator (A. sinensis)

    • ‘And it is fair to say they are rather desperate to catch Chucky the alligator and the other five alligators.’
    • ‘Crocodiles and alligators have changed very little since their beginning.’
    • ‘Stunned parkgoers have even spotted the pythons in epic battles with native alligators.’
    • ‘There are snakes and alligators everywhere, and the more you see, the more you realise the city isn't going to be liveable for who knows how long.’
    • ‘A variety of turtles lived in the rivers, along with gar, freshwater clams and snails, crayfish, and alligators.’
    • ‘Bullough brought alligators and giant turtles to the island, where they lived in heated glasshouses.’
    • ‘This environmentally protected area is home to turtles, crabs, dolphins, and alligators.’
    • ‘When docking or beaching, look for evidence of turtles, birds, alligators and other animals along shore.’
    • ‘Potential alligators should form an orderly crocodile line and apply quickly to avoid tears.’
    • ‘Many people think there is a big difference between crocodiles and alligators, but this is not correct as they both belong to the same family.’
    • ‘At Gatorland, lake levels were lowered in order to prevent floods spilling the 1,000 alligators and crocodiles into the surrounding area.’
    • ‘For now, the alligators in the Florida Everglades are holding their ground against the invading snakes.’
    • ‘Caiman belong to the group known as crocodilians, which also includes alligators and crocodiles.’
    • ‘Mississippi alligators commonly live for about 80 years.’
    • ‘Saltwater marshes and ponds dot the landscape, and alligators lazily sun themselves on banks.’
    • ‘The lake view turned out to be a murky green puddle of water several feet deep, full of moss, slime, and a pack of vicious alligators.’
    • ‘The zoo here is now playing host to a pair each of seamy crocodiles, alligators and caimans, giving the city dwellers a glimpse of some rare species.’
    • ‘Coyotes, white-tailed deer, elk, and even alligators can cause problems on the ground.’
    • ‘The gardens contained heated pools for his menagerie of alligators and tropical turtles.’
    • ‘My guess is that alligators and water moccasins outnumber race fans in the Homestead area, which is south of Miami.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The skin of the alligator or material resembling it.
      • ‘He wore dark blue pants and alligator skin boots, and a white shirt that had long puffy sleeves and purple embroidery on the cuffs.’
      • ‘Get rid of alligator legs by first exfoliating in the shower.’
      • ‘In the dim light could be seen a black cowboy hat, a black trench coat, a pair of dirty blue jeans with alligator skin boots and a generous helping of ammo belts draped over his chest.’
      • ‘Startled by Theo's sudden arrival, the old lady emitted a little shriek and clutched her alligator skin handbag tightly to her chest.’
      • ‘George can provide exotic skins too, like alligator, lizard, ostrich and even stingray.’


Late 16th century: from Spanish el lagarto ‘the lizard’, probably based on Latin lacerta.