Share this entry

Share this page

crocodile

Line breaks: croco|dile
Pronunciation: /ˈkrɒkədʌɪl
 
/

Definition of crocodile in English:

noun

1A large predatory semiaquatic reptile with long jaws, long tail, short legs, and a horny textured 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.
1.1 [mass noun] Leather 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’.

Words that rhyme with crocodile

nubileaedilecinephile

Definition of crocodile in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day odium
Pronunciation: ˈəʊdɪəm
noun
widespread hatred or disgust for someone…