Definitions

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

  • noun Any of various usually cold-blooded egg-laying vertebrates often grouped in the class Reptilia, having dry skin covered with scales or horny plates and breathing by means of lungs, and including the snakes, lizards, crocodilians, and turtles. In some classification systems, birds are considered to be reptiles because they are descended from reptilian dinosaurs.
  • noun A person regarded as contemptible or obsequious.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Creeping or crawling; repent; reptant; reptatory; of or pertaining to the Reptilia, in any sense.
  • Groveling; low; mean: as, a reptile race.
  • noun A creeping animal; an animal that goes on its belly, or moves with small, short legs.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A groveling, abject, or mean person: used in contempt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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).

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