- a semiaquatic reptile of Central and South America that resembles an alligator but features a far more heavily armored belly
- See Cayman.
additionally cayman, 1570s, from Portuguese or Spanish caiman, from Carib acayouman "crocodile," or from a Congo African word placed on the reptiles when you look at the "" new world "" by African slaves. "The name is apparently among those like anaconda and bom, boma, that your Portuguese or Spaniards really early caught up in one an element of the globe, and naturalized an additional." [OED]
The largest, attaining an enormous bulk and a length of 20 ft., is the C. niger, the jacare-assu or large caiman of the Amazons.