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[man-uh-tee, man-uh-tee] /ˈmæn əˌti, ˌmæn əˈti/
any of several plant-eating aquatic mammals of the genus Trichechus, of West Indian, Floridian, and Gulf Coast waters, having two flippers in front and a broad, spoon-shaped tail: all species are endangered.
Origin of manatee
1545-55; < Spanish manatí < Carib, but associated with Latin manātus provided with hands Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for manatee
  • We arrived, killed the crocs, then ate the fish and discovered the manatee while it still lived.
  • Out at sea, you might also spot dolphins and occasionally a manatee.
  • In this lesson, students will research the manatee to find out why it is endangered.
  • The manatee has unique perceptual abilities, perfectly suited to its niche in the world.
  • He has now broken all records for known manatee travel.
  • On some days you can see nurse sharks swim by, and you might even spot the increasingly elusive manatee.
  • Take the slow-swimming graceful manatee, for example.
  • The target manatee was circled with the boat as the net was set.
British Dictionary definitions for manatee


/ˈmænəˌtiː, ˌmænəˈtiː/
any sirenian mammal of the genus Trichechus, occurring in tropical coastal waters of America, the Caribbean, and Africa: family Trichechidae. They resemble whales and have a prehensile upper lip and a broad flattened tail
Derived Forms
manatoid, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Spanish from Carib Manattouī
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 manatee

1550s, from Spanish manati (1530s), from Carib manati "breast, udder." Often associated with Latin manatus "having hands," because the flippers resemble hands.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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