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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.
(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.
Contemporary Examples

Vali sings while playing with an alligator on a pink swing set, hustling at a lemonade stand and dancing with shadowy creatures.
Miley Cyrus, Arcade Fire & More Best Music Videos of the Week (VIDEO) Victoria Kezra September 14, 2013

Consider one bold, green dress with a voluminous skirt that shimmered with what looked like the green scales of an alligator.
Bottega Veneta Spring/Summer 2014: Palazzo Fashion Liza Foreman September 20, 2013

No matter what was on that flag—a white buttercup, a corn muffin, the skeleton of an alligator, who knows?
We’ve Got Bigger Problems Than a Confederate Flag John McWhorter August 27, 2014

You can even purchase a “Canned Exotic Meat Gift Set,” which includes rattlesnake, alligator, elk, and buffalo.
Camel in a Can and 6 More Weird Canned Meats January 4, 2014

In another study, children saw a puppet show where a mouse was eaten by an alligator.
Why Are Millennials Unfriending Organized Religion? Vlad Chituc November 8, 2014

Historical Examples

Then, all of a sudden, in came swimming the alligator, right toward the rabbit.
Uncle Wiggily’s Adventures Howard R. Garis

Along its back, was a ridge of horns, like spines, and higher than an alligator’s.
Welsh Fairy Tales William Elliott Griffis

A moment later my curiosity was satisfied, for there emerged slowly from the covert an alligator nearly as large as my canoe.
Voyage of the Paper Canoe Nathaniel H. Bishop

What have you got in that alligator, Sheriff, that you’re so careful not to set it down and forget it?
The Duke Of Chimney Butte G. W. Ogden

The alligator was fed on raw flesh, and sometimes with milk, for which he showed great fondness.
Natural History in Anecdote Various

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)
a similar but smaller species, A. sinensis, occurring in China near the Yangtse River
any crocodilian belonging to the family Alligatoridae
any of various tools or machines having adjustable toothed jaws, used for gripping, crushing, or compacting

1560s, lagarto (modern form attested from 1620s, with excrescent -r as in tater, feller, etc.), a corruption of Spanish el lagarto (de Indias) “the lizard (of the Indies),” from Latin 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 1956 song title.


An assertively masculine, flashily dressed, and up-to-the-minute male; dude, sport (Black)
An active devotee of swing and jive music, dancing, and speech (1930s+ Jive talk) The salutation ”See you later, alligator” is common
A white jazz musician or jazz enthusiast (Black jazz musicians)


Read Also:

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    alligator bait noun phrase A black person, esp one from Florida or Louisiana (Black)

  • Alligator clip

    a type of terminal for making temporary electrical connections, consisting of a cliplike device with long, narrow jaws that resemble those of an alligator. Historical Examples He couldn’t control his fingers accurately yet, and he made several attempts to pull the alligator clip off the terminal post. The Scarlet Lake Mystery Harold Leland Goodwin When […]

  • Alligatorfish

    a slender marine , Aspidophoroides monopterygius, of Atlantic seas, having overlapping plates covering the body. any of several related of the family Agonidae.

  • Alligator forceps

    alligator forceps alligator forceps al·li·ga·tor forceps (āl’ĭ-gā’tər) n. Long forceps with a small hinged jaw on the end.

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