• synonyms

Gila monster

  1. a large, venomous lizard, Heloderma suspectum, of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico, covered with beadlike scales of yellow, orange, and black.
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Origin of Gila monster

1875–80, Americanism; after Gila
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gila monster

Historical Examples of gila monster

  • The Gila-monster, tarantula, the scorpion and thelyphonus, scolopender and julus occur in some localities in the rainy season.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 5


British Dictionary definitions for gila monster

Gila monster

  1. a large venomous brightly coloured lizard, Heloderma suspectum, inhabiting deserts of the southwestern US and Mexico and feeding mostly on eggs and small mammals: family Helodermatidae
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Word Origin for Gila monster

C19: after the Gila, a river in New Mexico and Arizona
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 gila monster


Heloderma suspectum, 1877, American English, from Gila River, which runs through its habitat in Arizona. The river name probably is from an Indian language, but it is unknown now which one, or what the word meant in it.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper