Definition of reptile in English:



  • 1A vertebrate animal of a class that includes snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and tortoises. They are distinguished by having a dry scaly skin and typically laying soft-shelled eggs on land.

    Class Reptilia: orders Chelonia (turtles and tortoises), Squamata (snakes and lizards), Rhynchocephalia (the tuatara), and Crocodylia (crocodilians). Modern reptiles are cold-blooded, though among extinct groups, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and ichthyosaurs, some may have been warm-blooded

    • ‘Anyone who wants to find out more about the giant reptiles should have a look here.’
    • ‘The Jurassic and Cretaceous together were the age of giant reptiles.’
    • ‘I thought it was just some cautionary warning about feeding reptiles.’
    • ‘Instead of preying on the nocturnal rat, for instance, the diurnal mongoose turned its attention to native birds and reptiles, many of which appeared to decline in Caribbean and Hawaiian locales.’
    • ‘He's really a wildlife photographer; to get his shots, he turns into an adventurer who has learned much about reptiles - snakes being his favorite cold-blooded creature.’
    • ‘On many occasions, Karen has observed a female hippo grooming a crocodile basking in the sun, licking the reptile's hide for up to 15 minutes, then ending the session with a huge open-mouth gape.’
    • ‘Over 3,000 reptiles, birds and mammals live in the park in their natural habitats.’
    • ‘‘A Molecular Phylogeny of Reptiles,’ published in 1999 in the journal Science, presents evidence that supports a re-ordering of the relationships among living reptiles.’
    • ‘The lectures offered include one about reptiles and amphibians native to Kentucky, which includes a chance for the children to handle live, non-venomous snakes, lizards, salamanders, toads and frogs.’
    • ‘Stainton has helmed Irwin's cable exploits for years, and he understands the inherent drama and suspense in diddling with deadly snakes and toothy reptiles.’
    • ‘When gazed upon by so many strangers, some of the Snake men appeared to be more nervous, and did not handle the reptiles in the fearless manner which marked earlier performances.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, a top-secret government agency that deals in the paranormal is hot on the tracks of the mysterious reptile sighted in the skies of California.’
    • ‘It is considered one of the world's most endangered reptiles, with fewer than 500 individuals living in three tiny islands off the coast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.’
    • ‘Hartley's Crocodile Adventures in Far North Queensland takes the idea of a tourist facility for the viewing of native reptiles in their natural habitat to another level.’
    • ‘An RSPCA dragnet of the area surrounding the pond failed to locate the beast, and the organisation warned locals to keep their eyes peeled for rogue reptiles.’
    • ‘Several hunts organized by the city government over the past months turned up empty-handed, apparently since cold-blooded reptiles are not very active during the chillier months.’
    • ‘It provides an important habitat for almost 400 species of migratory birds, 80 species of mammals, and 40 species of reptiles and amphibians.’
    • ‘Sculptures depicting serpents, reptiles, fowl, and other animals were fashioned by Doyle from tree limbs and trunks, driftwood, and scrap pieces of lumber.’
    • ‘One of only two remaining alligator species in the world, this reptile has the dubious distinction of being the planet's most endangered species.’
    • ‘More than 70 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 80 species of reptiles and amphibians, and hundreds of insects, spiders and scorpions have been recorded in the reserve.’
  • 2informal A person regarded with loathing and contempt.

    ‘are you contradicting me, you ignorant little reptile?’


  • attributive Belonging to a reptile or to the class of reptiles.

    ‘reptile eggs’
    • ‘Only about 10% of reptile species in zoos have reproduced.’
    • ‘Visitors entered a run-down building in a downscale neighborhood to discover what appeared to be a decrepit, abandoned reptile zoo.’
    • ‘The reptile population ranges from a variety of venomous and harmless snakes to the endangered blue-tongued lizard and the goanna, a monitor lizard that grows to 8 feet.’
    • ‘I purchased this particular turtle because he didn't take his eyes off me the entire time I was in the reptile store.’
    • ‘There was also a problem with illegal imports from Thailand into the United States, including ivory jewelry, sea turtle products, leopard and tiger parts and products, and a large variety of reptile products.’
    • ‘If there were too much light she would naturally see the reptile slithering up and down the bell-pull, and make too correct an identification.’
    • ‘The simplified naturalism of marine and reptile masks and their widespread distribution make it difficult to determine their origin.’
    • ‘It reminded me of the ‘Arena’ episode, where Captain Kirk battled a fearsome guy in a reptile suit.’
    • ‘Ruthie and Winfield run in from the fields with reptile eggs.’
    • ‘Picard also predicts that animal prints will overtake the popular reptile looks, and that metallic shades will gain prominence.’
    • ‘I don't know what else it would be used for, but in herpetology it is used for incubating reptile eggs.’
    • ‘He has remade a whole small shop building in King's Cross into an imaginary reptile house, except there aren't any reptiles in the museum cases!’
    • ‘You can use the comments to place facilities like chairs, vending machines, toilet blocks and new displays like a reptile house.’
    • ‘The reptile picture reminded me of Evan's room.’
    • ‘I note that skrimslis an Icelandic monster, chronicled in Fortean Times, possibly a sort of reptile living in lakes.’
    • ‘On the family tree of evolution, it dates back to the beginnings of reptile evolution in the Carboniferous era.’
    • ‘Experts speculate that the python could fight its way to the top of the food chain, ousting its native reptile adversary.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin, neuter of reptilis, from Latin rept- ‘crawled’, from the verb repere.