caiman

[key-muhn]
noun, plural caimans.
any of several tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and allied genera: some are endangered.
Also, cayman.


Origin:
1570–80; < Spanish caimán < Carib

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World English Dictionary
caiman (ˈkeɪmən)
 
n , pl -mans
a variant spelling of cayman

cayman or caiman (ˈkeɪmən)
 
n , pl -mans
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)
 
[C16: from Spanish caiman, from Carib cayman, probably of African origin]
 
caiman or caiman
 
n
 
[C16: from Spanish caiman, from Carib cayman, probably of African origin]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

caiman
1570s, from Port. or Sp. caiman, from a Carib word, 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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Example sentences
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.
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