either of two broad-snouted crocodilians of the genus Alligator, of the southeastern U.S. and eastern China.
(loosely) any broad-snouted crocodilian, as a caiman.
Metallurgy. a machine for bringing the balls of iron from a puddling furnace into compact form so that they can be handled.
Jazz. an enthusiastic fan of swing.
verb (used without object)
(of paint, varnish, or the like) to crack and acquire the appearance of alligator hide, as from weathering or improper application to a surface.
Metalworking. (of a rolled metal slab) to split and curl up and down at one end; fishmouth.

1560–70; < Spanish el lagarto the lizard < Vulgar Latin *ille that + *lacartus, for Latin lacertus lizard Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
alligator (ˈælɪˌɡeɪtə)
1.  a large crocodilian, Alligator mississipiensis, of the southern US, having powerful jaws and sharp teeth and differing from the crocodiles in having a shorter and broader snout: family Alligatoridae (alligators and caymans)
2.  a similar but smaller species, A. sinensis, occurring in China near the Yangtse River
3.  any crocodilian belonging to the family Alligatoridae
4.  any of various tools or machines having adjustable toothed jaws, used for gripping, crushing, or compacting
[C17: from Spanish el lagarto the lizard, from Latin lacerta]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1560s, lagarto, modern form attested from 1620s, a corruption of Sp. el lagarto (de Indias) "the lizard (of the Indies)," from L. lacertus (see lizard). Alligarter was an early variant. The slang meaning "non-playing devotee of swing music" is attested from 1936; the phrase
see you later, alligator is from a 1957 song title.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Surfing is more akin to fly-fishing or bird-watching than to parachute jumping
  or alligator wrestling.
So the alligator thrives, while the tiger struggles.
Species rarely change much if they are living successfully in a stable
  environment: witness the alligator.
It's little more than a trussed up wall phone with a small dialing pad and
  alligator clips for tapping directly into a line.
Images for alligator
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