1. <zoology> 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.
<botany> Alligator apple, a very large and voracious turtle (Macrochelys lacertina) in habiting 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. Alligator wood, the timber of a tree of the West Indies (Guarea Swartzii).
Origin: Sp. El lagarto the lizard (el lagarto de Indias, the cayman or American crocodile), fr. L. Lacertus, lacerta, lizard. See Lizard.
(01 Mar 1998)
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