alligator






noun

  1. either of two broad-snouted crocodilians of the genus Alligator, of the southeastern U.S. and eastern China.
  2. (loosely) any broad-snouted crocodilian, as a caiman.
  3. Metallurgy. a machine for bringing the balls of iron from a puddling furnace into compact form so that they can be handled.
  4. Jazz. an enthusiastic fan of swing.

verb (used without object)

  1. (of paint, varnish, or the like) to crack and acquire the appearance of alligator hide, as from weathering or improper application to a surface.
  2. Metalworking. (of a rolled metal slab) to split and curl up and down at one end; fishmouth.

noun

  1. a large crocodilian, Alligator mississipiensis, of the southern US, having powerful jaws and sharp teeth and differing from the crocodiles in having a shorter and broader snout: family Alligatoridae (alligators and caymans)
  2. a similar but smaller species, A. sinensis, occurring in China near the Yangtse River
  3. any crocodilian belonging to the family Alligatoridae
  4. any of various tools or machines having adjustable toothed jaws, used for gripping, crushing, or compacting
n.

1560s, lagarto (modern form attested from 1620s, with excrescent -r as in tater, feller, etc.), a corruption of Spanish el lagarto (de Indias) “the lizard (of the Indies),” from Latin lacertus (see lizard). Alligarter was an early variant. The slang meaning “non-playing devotee of swing music” is attested from 1936; the phrase see you later, alligator is from a 1956 song title.

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