Definition of crocodile in English:

Share this entry

crocodile

Pronunciation: /ˈkräkəˌdīl/

noun

1A large predatory semiaquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured skin, using submersion and stealth to approach prey unseen. The crocodile has been extensively hunted for its valuable skin.
  • Family Crocodylidae: three genera, in particular Crocodylus, and several species.
Example sentences
  • They could see the scaled skin of crocodiles and alligators along with an assortment of fish swimming about.
  • Hunted extensively for their skins, large crocodiles are becoming increasingly rare.
  • Many of the children were surprised at the texture of the crocodile's skin.
1.1Leather made from crocodile skin, used especially to make bags and shoes.
Example sentences
  • Shoes are sling-backed heels of crocodile and patent leather.
  • Accessories include wedged shoes in crocodile, aged leather belts cinched around jackets and blazers recalling Dr. Zhivago.
  • Shoes are pointed and classic in crocodile and patterned leather with a lace or side buckle.
2British informal A line of schoolchildren walking in pairs.
Example sentences
  • Will the UK scheme to walk a crocodile of children to school give them independence - or simply embarrass them?
  • The crocodile involves the group walking one behind another and throwing a ball back down the line.
  • The owner of one stall enthused about the rich tradition of cheesemaking he'd inherited, along with his flock of sheep, to a crocodile of rapt schoolchildren.

Origin

Middle English cocodrille, cokadrill, from Old French cocodrille, via medieval Latin from Latin crocodilus, from Greek krokodilos 'worm of the stones', from krokē 'pebble' + drilos 'worm'. The spelling was changed in the 16th century to conform with the Latin and Greek forms.

More
  • The name of the crocodile comes from Greek krokodilos ‘worm of the stones’, from krokē ‘pebble’ and drilos ‘worm’. This is a reference to the crocodile's habit of basking in the sun on the banks of a river. In medieval English the spellings cocodrille and cokadrill were common. If you accuse someone of shedding crocodile tears, you mean they are putting on a display of insincere sorrow. The expression dates from the mid 16th century and comes from the ancient belief that crocodiles wept while luring or devouring their prey. According to a 16th-century account of the sailor John Hawkins's voyages, the crocodile's nature ‘is ever when he would have his prey, to cry and sob like a Christian body, to provoke them to come to him, and then he snatcheth at them’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: croc·o·dile

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.