Definition of gecko in US English:



  • A nocturnal and often highly vocal lizard which has adhesive pads on the feet to assist in climbing on smooth surfaces. It is widespread in warm regions.

    Gekkonidae and related families: numerous genera and species

    • ‘In his suitcases were more than 200 live skinks, geckos, and frogs.’
    • ‘A wide variety of birds, lizards and marsupials are depicted, including kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, leaf-tail geckoes and many other animals from the region.’
    • ‘While living here I have spotted many, including small shiny skinned skinks, geckos (jing-jocks and tokays), and large monitor lizards.’
    • ‘Police say burglars had broken in earlier that day, taking exotic animals and equipment worth £640, including two bull snakes, a pair of hypo geckos, two skinks and a corn snake.’
    • ‘But the design of geckos ' feet, with their huge number of spatulate tips on every sera of every toe, allows many atoms to become intimate with a wall and act as a sort of glue.’
    • ‘Climbing geckos use all four feet similarly to produce positive fore-aft forces parallel to the surface that propel the gecko upwards.’
    • ‘Perhaps 100 million years ago, the ancestors of today's geckos became nocturnal predators.’
    • ‘In another example of blurry physical boundaries, consider the gecko, a lizard remarkable for its ability to walk upside down on ceilings.’
    • ‘Unlike these animals, geckos lack glands on the surface of their feet.’
    • ‘The extraordinary adhesive capabilities of geckos have challenged explanation for millennia, since Aristotle first recorded his observations.’
    • ‘If geckos were to rely solely on capillary adhesion for attachment, setal function could be constrained by relative humidity of the habitat.’
    • ‘On the poorly appreciated role of reptiles and amphibians, he said that geckos, garden lizards, frogs and toads have a vital role to play in the ecosystem.’
    • ‘Experiments using X-ray bombardment eliminated electrostatic attraction as a necessary mechanism for setal adhesion since the geckos were still able to adhere in ionized air.’
    • ‘And how do geckos keep their feet clean, despite their adhesive traits?’
    • ‘Since geckos have millions of these hairs on each foot, their combined adhesive force is hundreds of times greater than what is required for the gecko to hang from a ceiling by one foot.’
    • ‘The secret to the tape is that it emulates the hairs on the feet of a gecko.’
    • ‘It's quite a sight to see geckos, small tropical lizards, running up and down walls and across ceilings, without any trouble.’
    • ‘Several species of nocturnal geckos form diurnal aggregations; however, few studies have attempted to determine the benefits or mechanistic basis of these groupings.’
    • ‘They're the tiny little ridges and hairs that geckos have on their feet.’
    • ‘There are many other snakes of all different sizes, as well as chameleons, geckos, lizards, skinks, iguanas, spiders and huge tortoises.’


Late 18th century: from Malay dialect geko, gekok, imitative of its cry.