[ krok-uh-dahyl ]
/ ˈkrɒk əˌdaɪl /
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any of several crocodilians of the genus Crocodylus, found in sluggish waters and swamps of the tropics.
any reptile of the order Crocodylia; crocodilian.
the tanned skin or hide of these animals, used in the manufacture of luggage and accessories, as belts, shoes, and wallets.
Chiefly British. a file of people, especially schoolchildren, out for a walk.
Archaic. a person who makes a hypocritical show of sorrow.
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Origin of crocodile

1250–1300; <Latin crocodīlus<Greek krokódeilos crocodile, originally a kind of lizard, said to be equivalent to krók(ē) pebble + -o--o- + drîlos, dreîlos worm (though attested only in sense “penis”), with r lost by dissimilation replacing Middle English cocodrille<Medieval Latin cocodrilus


croc·o·dil·oid [krok-uh-dil-oid, krok-uh-dahy-loid], /ˌkrɒk əˈdɪl ɔɪd, ˈkrɒk əˌdaɪ lɔɪd/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between crocodiles and alligators?

Crocodiles and alligators are both large, lizardlike reptiles known for their large, powerful jaws and sharp teeth, their long tails, and their thick, plated skin.

However, you can tell them apart through some physical differences. Crocodiles are often lighter in color and have a narrower snout. Alligators are typically darker and have broader snout.

When they’re in the water, crocodiles typically hold the top of their head out of the water. In contrast, alligators typically lurk under the surface, with only their eyes visible. When alligators’ jaws are closed, only their upper teeth are visible, but both the upper and lower teeth of crocodiles are visible when their jaws are closed.

Crocodiles live in tropical areas of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia. Alligators mainly live in the southeastern U.S. and eastern China. The only place that wild alligators and crocodiles have been documented as inhabiting the same area is in south Florida.

Taxonomically speaking, crocodiles and alligators are not only different species, they also belong to a different genus (crocodiles belong to the genus Crocodylus, while alligators belong to the genus Alligator). Still, they both belong to the order Crocodylia, which means they can both be called crocodilians.

Here’s an example of crocodile and alligator used correctly in a sentence.

Example: Florida is known for its population of alligators, although a few crocodiles also live in the extreme south.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between crocodiles and alligators.

Quiz yourself on crocodile vs. alligator!

Should crocodile or alligator be used in the following sentence?

You can tell that it’s a _____ because of its long, narrow snout and the fact that its upper and lower teeth are visible when its mouth is closed.

How to use crocodile in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crocodile

/ (ˈkrɒkəˌdaɪl) /

any large tropical reptile, such as C. niloticus (African crocodile), of the family Crocodylidae: order Crocodilia (crocodilians). They have a broad head, tapering snout, massive jaws, and a thick outer covering of bony plates
any other reptile of the order Crocodilia; a crocodilian
  1. leather made from the skin of any of these animals
  2. (as modifier)crocodile shoes
British informal a line of people, esp schoolchildren, walking two by two

Word Origin for crocodile

C13: via Old French, from Latin crocodīlus, from Greek krokodeilos lizard, ultimately from krokē pebble + drilos worm; referring to its fondness for basking on shingle
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