Definitions

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

  • n. Either of two large reptiles, Alligator mississipiensis of the southeast United States or A. sinensis of China, having sharp teeth and powerful jaws. They differ from crocodiles in having a broader, shorter snout.
  • n. Leather made from the hide of one of these reptiles.
  • n. A tool or fastener having strong, adjustable, often toothed jaws.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who binds or ties.
  • n. A large amphibious reptile with sharp teeth and very strong jaws related to the crocodile and native to the Americas and China. Informal short form: gator
  • v. To crack in a pattern resembling an alligator's skin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to America. It has a shorter and broader snout than the crocodile, and the large teeth of the lower jaw shut into pits in the upper jaw, which has no marginal notches. Besides the common species of the southern United States, there are allied species in South America.
  • n. Any machine with strong jaws, one of which opens like the movable jaw of an alligator.
  • n. a form of squeezer for the puddle ball.
  • n. a rock breaker.
  • n. a kind of job press, called also alligator press.
  • v. to form shallow cracks in a reticulated pattern on the surface, or in a coating on the surface, of an object.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Any American member of the family Alligatoridæ or the family Crocodilidæ; an American crocodile; a cayman; a jacaré.
  • n. [capitalized] [NL.] More specifically, a genus of large lizard-like or saurian reptiles, the type of the family Alligatoridæ, order Crocodilia, formerly family Crocodilidæ, order Sauria. See Alligatoridæ, Crocodilidæ.
  • n. A local name of the little brown fence-lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, common in many parts of the United States.
  • n. A machine for bringing the balls of iron from a puddling-furnace into compact form so that they can be handled; a squeezer.
  • n. A peculiar form of rock-breaker.
  • n. A boat used in handling floating logs. It can be moved overland from one body of water to another by its own power, usually applied through a drum and cable.

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

  • v. crack and acquire the appearance of alligator hide, as from weathering or improper application; of paint and varnishes
  • n. leather made from alligator's hide
  • n. either of two amphibious reptiles related to crocodiles but with shorter broader snouts

Etymologies

Alteration of Spanish el lagarto, the lizard : el, the (from Latin ille, that.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin alligator (Wiktionary)
Spanish el lagarto ("the lizard") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • We have plenty of these here in Florida.

    October 24, 2012

  • The North Florida Herald, f.k.a the High Springs Herald reported that an 11-foot long alligator attacked a fellow townsman on June 22, 2010. This article incorrectly dates the attack as July 22, (2010).

    June 27, 2010

  • Interesting usage on frig.

    January 17, 2010

  • This obviously can't have been coined by Shakespeare. Something close to the modern spelling is first known in his works: the First Folio has 'Allegater' (for the 'Aligarta' of the first edition). From this time (early to mid 1600s) classical-looking spellings with an apparent suffix -tor replaced older spellings with Spanish -o or -a. (The word is actually from el lagarto "the lizard", Classical Latin lacerta.)

    September 2, 2009

  • Romeo & Juliet, Act 5, Scene 1:
    "in his needy shop a tortoise hung, / An alligator stuff'd, and other skins."

    September 2, 2009