Definitions

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

  • noun Any of various tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and related genera of the family Alligatoridae, differing from the alligators in having bony plates on the belly.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) See cayman.

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

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

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

  • noun 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 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

  • 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

  • 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.

    WTVM - 1- WTVM Home

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

    KLTV - Local and National News

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

    The News Tribune - Tacoma - - HOMEPAGE

  • 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

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