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[key-muh n] /ˈkeɪ mən/
noun, plural caimans.
any of several tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and allied genera: some are endangered.
Also, cayman.
1570-80; < Spanish caimán < Carib Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


noun (pl) -mans
a variant spelling of cayman


noun (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)
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

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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