Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and related genera, resembling and closely related to the alligators.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A relative of the alligator, of the genus Caiman. It resembles an alligator and a crocodile but smaller.
  • n. A semi-aquatic lizard, of the genus Dracaena, found in South America. To differentiate from caimans, they are referred to as caiman lizards.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See cayman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus of tropical American Alligatoridæ, containing such species as C. palpebrosus or C. trigonatus; the caymans.
  • n. [lowercase] A cayman.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a semiaquatic reptile of Central and South America that resembles an alligator but has a more heavily armored belly

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Spanish caimán, from Carib acayuman.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish caiman or Portuguese caimão, probably from Galibi Carib or perhaps from a Congo lanaguage.

Examples

  • And about a knickknack made from a crocodilian reptile known as a caiman, posed with a pipe in its mouth and an ashtray in its claws.

    Uncle Sam Wants You to Bid on This Fine Weasel Fur Coat

  • “And by gator,” Dr. Schecter said in a patronizing tone, “I assume you mean the South American crocodilian species called the caiman?”

    Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark: The Clan MacRieve

  • Harlem, N.Y., resident Lynette Braxton, on the 350-pound tiger that mauled its owner, who kept the animal in his Harlem apartment with a five-foot reptile called a caiman "Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would."

    Perspectives

  • The alligator, also called caiman by the Spanish-American creoles, inhabits the rivers and bayous of the North and South American continents, while the crocodiles are natives of Africa, of the West

    Four Months in a Sneak-Box

  • No one was injured by the caiman, which is native to Central and South America.

    KLTV - Local and National News

  • Cox says he always wanted an alligator and a caiman was the closest thing.

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  • This morning somebody shouted out 'caiman' and alligators along the banks slithered into the water.

    Peeg and Brie (opening of a teen novel)

  • There is the alligator of the Mississippi -- which is the "caiman" or "cayman" of the Spanish Americans; there is the spectacled alligator (_Alligator sclerops_), a southern species, so called from a pair of rings around its eyes having a resemblance to spectacles; and there is a still smaller species called the "bava," which is found in Lake Valencia, and in many South American rivers.

    The Forest Exiles The Perils of a Peruvian Family in the Wilds of the Amazon

  • A five-foot caiman crocodile was removed from the residence as well, and sent to Indiana.

    Jonathan Handel: The Laurel Canyon Goats Are Leaving!

  • Ming's human neighbors, for instance, were reportedly not particularly alarmed by the presence of the tiger, let alone the toothy caiman or the hyenas, monkeys and snakes that they said had previously lived in the five-bedroom apartment.

    Jonathan Handel: The Laurel Canyon Goats Are Leaving!

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