Definition of reptilian in US English:



  • 1Relating to or characteristic of reptiles.

    ‘the reptilian ancestors of mammals’
    • ‘Although old drawings of Tyrannosaurus rex give the beast an almost erect stance and a long reptilian tail, which dragged on the ground.’
    • ‘At our study site, the predator guild includes avian, mammalian, and reptilian species.’
    • ‘Vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, theropod dinosaurs) develop larger brains then their earlier reptilian ancestors.’
    • ‘Let us consider first the simpler explanation of a series of morphological evolutionary changes in the evolution of avian feathers from reptilian scales.’
    • ‘Two of the bones found in the reptilian jaw are nearly identical to two of the bones in the mammalian inner ear.’
    • ‘This is a sequence of fossils which shows in great detail how the mammalian inner ear bones evolved from similar bones in the reptilian jaw.’
    • ‘Figure 16 pictures a three-headed reptilian bird chasing a hunter who is armed with a gun.’
    • ‘Enormous temporal fossae for very strong jaw muscles, formed by just one of the reptilian jaw muscles, which has now become the mammalian masseter.’
    • ‘Turtles and iguanas are the most common reptilian sources of the infection.’
    • ‘Autumn has arrived and with the cooler weather our amphibian and reptilian friends will be looking for somewhere to call home over the winter.’
    • ‘Therefore, it had nothing to do with demonstrating how the genetic information coding for feathers could have arisen in the imagined reptilian ancestors of birds.’
    • ‘Like all reflexes, the startle reflects activity of the brain stem, the most primitive, reptilian part of the brain.’
    • ‘Dehydration can cause serious health problems in any reptilian species.’
    • ‘At the time, paleontologists were stuck in a reptilian perspective on dinosaurs.’
    • ‘You have to admit that there's something fascinating about dinosaurs, those lumbering reptilian giants of a bygone age.’
    • ‘In proportion to body size, mammals have brains about ten times the size of reptilian brains.’
    • ‘Still had true socketed teeth, a reptilian trait.’
    • ‘Mammals, as we have learned to expect, employ a bizarre and pointlessly complicated variation on the straightforward and logical reptilian plan.’
    • ‘The reptilian scale has absolutely nothing to do with follicles.’
    • ‘Named after their spotted coats and fearsome jaws, leopard seals have large, reptilian heads and streamlined bodies.’
    unpleasant, distasteful, nasty, disagreeable, unappealing, unattractive, off-putting, horrible, horrid
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  • 2(of a person) deeply disliked and despised; repulsive.

    ‘a reptilian villain with no redeeming features’
    • ‘In fact, a lot of those B players are still around today - the reptilian Richard Perle for example.’
    • ‘He can feel Martin out there waiting his time with the cold reptilian patience of the perfect agent.’
    • ‘Judge Dave Ryan is also a friend to children; however, he can't fly, and he lacks a hard, reptilian protective shell.’
    • ‘Boyle is Sidney Greenstreet - ish, minus the reptilian glamour.’
    • ‘Mr. Chen laughed in his quiet, reptilian way.’
    • ‘But here he distils horror by showing it in slow passage through the ageing, reptilian contours of Michael Caine's face.’
    • ‘Sincere roles are not only out of character for Jim Carey, they are entirely alien to his reptilian nature.’
    • ‘Nick Stahl does a good job portraying Bobby as a vicious, detestable bully (with perhaps just a hint of reptilian charisma).’
    • ‘The script called for her to be sympathetic, in spite of his reptilian appearance.’
    • ‘That is, the mechanism that should concern us is our own reptilian nature.’
    • ‘Her blue eyes, entirely void of make up, gave her face a strange, reptilian look.’


  • An animal belonging to the class Reptilia; a reptile.