• synonyms


or cay·man

[key-muh n]
noun, plural cai·mans.
  1. any of several tropical American crocodilians of the genus Caiman and allied genera: some are endangered.
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Origin of caiman

1570–80; < Spanish caimán < Carib
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for caiman


noun plural -mans
  1. a variant spelling of cayman
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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

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]

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper