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caiman

[key-muh n] /ˈkeɪ mən/
noun, plural caimans.
1.
any of several tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and allied genera: some are endangered.
Also, cayman.
Origin
1570-1580
1570-80; < Spanish caimán < Carib
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caiman
  • The sound of caiman chirping was broken by crashing carapaces of turtles.
  • The spectacled caiman is hunted for its hide and the red-headed turtle is hunted for its delicious eggs and meat.
British Dictionary definitions for caiman

caiman

/ˈkeɪmən/
noun (pl) -mans
1.
a variant spelling of cayman

cayman

/ˈkeɪmən/
noun (pl) -mans
1.
any tropical American crocodilian of the genus Caiman and related genera, similar to alligators but with a more heavily armoured belly: family Alligatoridae (alligators, etc)
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish caimán, from Carib cayman, probably of African origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for caiman
n.

also cayman, 1570s, from Portuguese or Spanish caiman, from Carib acayouman "crocodile," or perhaps from a Congo African word applied to the reptiles in the new world by African slaves. "The name appears to be one of those like anaconda and bom, boma, which the Portuguese or Spaniards very early caught up in one part of the world, and naturalized in another." [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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