- either of two broad-snouted crocodilians of the genus Alligator, of the southeastern U.S. and eastern China.
- (loosely) any broad-snouted crocodilian, as a caiman.
- Metallurgy. a machine for bringing the balls of iron from a puddling furnace into compact form so that they can be handled.
- Jazz. an enthusiastic fan of swing.
verb (used without object)
- (of paint, varnish, or the like) to crack and acquire the appearance of alligator hide, as from weathering or improper application to a surface.
- Metalworking. (of a rolled metal slab) to split and curl up and down at one end; fishmouth.
- 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)
- a similar but smaller species, A. sinensis, occurring in China near the Yangtse River
- any crocodilian belonging to the family Alligatoridae
- any of various tools or machines having adjustable toothed jaws, used for gripping, crushing, or compacting
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.