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cayman

[key-muh n] /ˈkeɪ mən/
noun, plural caymans.
1.

caiman

or cayman

[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.
Origin of caiman
1570-1580
1570-80; < Spanish caimán < Carib
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cayman
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The cayman of South America is very ferocious, and is popularly styled the hyena of the alligator tribe.

  • The screams of the poor fellow were terrible as the cayman was running off with him.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • Time was going and he thought he felt cayman's keel touch bottom.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck Harold Bindloss
  • “If the cayman had come near me, he would have had to repent of his boldness,” he observed.

    The Wanderers W.H.G. Kingston
  • I had the nets spread at intervals, so that the cayman could not escape back into the lake.

    Adventures in the Philippine Islands Paul P. de La Gironire
  • He went off to meet cayman in a fresh breeze that scared the fellow I sent.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for 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

caiman

/ˈkeɪmən/
noun (pl) -mans
1.
a variant spelling of cayman
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cayman

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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13
15
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