Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Either of two large semiaquatic 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.
  • noun Leather made from the hide of one of these reptiles.
  • noun A tool or fastener having strong, adjustable, often toothed jaws.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any American member of the family Alligatoridæ or the family Crocodilidæ; an American crocodile; a cayman; a jacaré.
  • noun [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.
  • noun A local name of the little brown fence-lizard, Sceloporus undulatus, common in many parts of the United States.
  • noun A machine for bringing the balls of iron from a puddling-furnace into compact form so that they can be handled; a squeezer.
  • noun A peculiar form of rock-breaker.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • verb to form shallow cracks in a reticulated pattern on the surface, or in a coating on the surface, of an object.
  • noun (Zoöl.) 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.
  • noun (Mech.) Any machine with strong jaws, one of which opens like the movable jaw of an alligator.
  • noun (Metal Working) a form of squeezer for the puddle ball.
  • noun (Mining) a rock breaker.
  • noun (Printing) a kind of job press, called also alligator press.
  • noun (Bot.) the fruit of the Anona palustris, a West Indian tree. It is said to be narcotic in its properties.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a marine fish of northwestern America (Podothecus acipenserinus).
  • noun (Zoöl.) one of the gar pikes (Lepidosteus spatula) found in the southern rivers of the United States. The name is also applied to other species of gar pikes.
  • noun (Bot.) a corruption of Avocado pear. See Avocado.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a very large and voracious turtle (Macrochelys lacertina) inhabiting the rivers of the southern United States. It sometimes reaches the weight of two hundred pounds. Unlike the common snapping turtle, to which the name is sometimes erroneously applied, it has a scaly head and many small scales beneath the tail. This name is sometimes given to other turtles, as to species of Trionyx.
  • noun the timber of a tree of the West Indies (Guarea Swartzii).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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
  • verb To crack in a pattern resembling an alligator's skin.
  • noun obsolete One who binds or ties.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Alteration of Spanish el lagarto, the lizard : el, the (from Latin ille, that; see al- in Indo-European roots) + lagarto, lizard (from Latin lacertus).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Spanish el lagarto ("the lizard")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin alligator

Examples

  • "Well, old alligator, what's the time o 'day?" asked another man, bringing down a brawny paw, with a resounding thump, upon the Herculean shoulders of the first querist, thereby giving me the information that in the West _alligator_ is a designation of the _genus homo_; in fact, that it is customary for a man to address his fellow-man as "old alligator," instead of "old fellow."

    The Englishwoman in America

  • _alligator_ is a designation of the _genus homo_; in fact, that it is customary for a man to address his fellow-man as “old alligator,” instead of “old fellow.”

    The Englishwoman in America

  • LOL You know we hear the term "alligator arms" right?

    NY Daily News

  • "I suppose it's what they call the alligator-gar, Pete."

    Nic Revel A White Slave's Adventures in Alligator Land

  • "You get what we call alligator cracking," said Stacey Young, a pavement engineer for the Lubbock district of the Texas Department of Transportation, referring to small seams in the pavement.

    NYT > Home Page

  • I'm just wondering if "alotofnothing's&# 8221; alligator is code for ...

    IZEA

  • I'm just wondering if "alotofnothing's&# 8221; alligator is code for ...

    IZEA

  • The "wrestling" in alligator wrestling is something of a misnomer.

    Boing Boing

  • Neither Greco-Roman, nor WWF, alligator wrestlers are actually trying to do something more akin to calf-roping: Catch an alligator from a pool or pit and bind its jaws shut with rope.

    Boing Boing

  • Think of it as a stimulus for $200/hour lawyers in alligator shoes.

    Think Progress » Georgia’s Attorney General Disputes Cuccinelli’s Claim That Frivolous Health Care Suit Won’t Cost Taxpayers

Comments

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  • Romeo & Juliet, Act 5, Scene 1:

    "in his needy shop a tortoise hung, / An alligator stuff'd, and other skins."

    September 2, 2009

  • 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

  • Interesting usage on frig.

    January 17, 2010

  • 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

  • We have plenty of these here in Florida.

    October 24, 2012

  • all I gat or

    February 10, 2016