[rep-til-ee-uh n, -til-yuh n]


belonging or pertaining to the Reptilia.
groveling, debased, or despicable; contemptible.
mean; treacherous; harmful.


a reptile.

Origin of reptilian

1840–50; < New Latin Reptili(a) reptiles (plural of rēptile, neuter of Late Latin rēptilis; see reptile) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reptilian

Contemporary Examples of reptilian

Historical Examples of reptilian

  • "A reptilian sorcery," he whispered to Lockwood, and smiled.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • They seemed now to have got into quite a reptilian paradise.

    Off to the Wilds

    George Manville Fenn

  • Among their reptilian foes are black snakes and bull snakes.

  • Reptilian fossils are found in both the lignite and the intervening layers of rock.

  • Concerning the reptilian pubis there are considerable difficulties.

    The Vertebrate Skeleton

    Sidney H. Reynolds

British Dictionary definitions for reptilian



of, relating to, resembling, or characteristic of reptiles
mean or treacherous; contemptiblereptilian behaviour


a less common name for reptile
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 reptilian

1846, from reptile + -ian. Transferred meaning "malignant, cold, underhanded" is from 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for reptilian



Relating to or characteristic of reptiles.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.