Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various cold-blooded, usually egg-laying vertebrates of the class Reptilia, such as a snake, lizard, crocodile, turtle, or dinosaur, having an external covering of scales or horny plates and breathing by means of lungs.
  • n. A person regarded as despicable or treacherous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia.
  • n. A mean or grovelling person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Creeping; moving on the belly, or by means of small and short legs.
  • adj. Hence: Groveling; low; vulgar
  • n. An animal that crawls, or moves on its belly, as snakes,, or by means of small, short legs, as lizards, and the like.
  • n. One of the Reptilia, or one of the Amphibia.
  • n. A groveling or very mean person.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Creeping or crawling; repent; reptant; reptatory; of or pertaining to the Reptilia, in any sense.
  • Groveling; low; mean: as, a reptile race.
  • n. A creeping animal; an animal that goes on its belly, or moves with small, short legs.
  • n. Specifically An oviparous quadruped; a four-footed egg-laying animal: applied about the middle of the eighteenth century to the animals then technically called Amphibia, as frogs, toads, newts, lizards, crocodiles, and turtles; any amphibian.
  • n. By restriction, upon the recognition of the divisions Amphibia and Reptilia, a scaly or pholidote reptile, as distinguished from a naked reptile; any snake, lizard, crocodile, or turtle; a member of the Reptilia proper; a saurian.
  • n. A groveling, abject, or mean person: used in contempt.

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

  • n. any cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia including tortoises, turtles, snakes, lizards, alligators, crocodiles, and extinct forms

Etymologies

Middle English reptil, from Old French reptile, from Late Latin rēptile, from neuter of Latin rēptilis, creeping, from rēptus, past participle of rēpere, to creep.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English reptil, from Old French reptile, from Late Latin rēptile, neuter of reptilis ("creeping"), from Latin rēpō ("to creep"), from Proto-Indo-European *rep- (“to creep, slink”) (Pokorny; Watkins, 1969). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By the way, nothing cladistically out-of-line with the term reptile, so long as we agree that Reptilia is a clade in which case it includes Aves and excludes Synapsida of which mammals are part.

    Around the Web

  • A cat is partially eaten leaving a zombie tail, which in turn is eaten by a snake that grows into a man-eating monster bigger than the title reptile of Anaconda.

    Zombie Confirmed, No Sequel for “Halloween”

  • The crux here is the Latin word reptile, which does not really mean "reptile" in its English sense, but rather "creeping" (though it is, of course, the source of our modern word "reptile").

    Snakes in the water and other discoveries

  • Here again there must be manifestation of the type of life, this time of what we call the reptile type; the tortoise is chosen as the typical creature, and while the tortoise typifies the type to be evolved, reptiles, amphibious creatures of every description, swarm over the earth, becoming more and more land-like in their character as the proportion of land to water increases.

    Avatâras Four lectures delivered at the twenty-fourth anniversary meeting of the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras, December, 1899

  • But, she notes that she is currently working on the description of a new reptile from the region, so zoological discovery continues, even in a fairly well-known part of the world.

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  • Police brought in reptile wrangler Chris Law, who captured the gator by grabbing it at the tail with his bare hands.

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  • The brainstem is often referred to as the "reptile brain" because it is a structure we share with more primitive life forms like lizards and snakes.

    Dike Drummond, M.D.: Three Things to Do When the "F" Word Stops You Cold

  • The substitution of swymmende ( "swimming") for Latin reptile ( "creeping") is not, I think, evidence that Aelfric doesn't know how to translate the word.

    Snakes in the water and other discoveries

  • Barta, as the local Nyishi tribesmen call the six-foot-something reptile, is the most-feared creature among the tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • SignOnSanDiego. com News Metro -- Plumber faces trial in reptile, gun case: An El Cajon plumber who had a garage full of guns and deadly snakes, and an alligator in his living room, must stand trial on a variety of weapons and animal charges, a judge ruled yesterday.

    Archive 2007-09-30

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