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reptile definition


This page has 7 definitions of reptile in English, French, and Latin. Reptile is a noun and adjective. Examples of how to use reptile in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Reptile, réptile, and rep-tile

English reptile definition


From Middle English reptil, from Old French reptile, from Late Latin rēptile, neuter of reptilis (creeping), from Latin rēpō (to creep), from Proto-Indo-European *rep- (to creep, slink) (Pokorny; Watkins, 1969).



reptile (plural reptiles)

  1. (strictly) A cold-blooded vertebrate of the class Reptilia; an amniote that is neither a synapsid nor a bird; excludes amphibians. [from 19th c.]
  2. (loosely, historical) A reptile or amphibian. [from 18th c.]
    Synonyms: herptile, herp
  3. (figuratively) A mean or grovelling person.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC:
      This work may, indeed, be considered as a great creation of our own; and for a little reptile of a critic to presume to find fault with any of its parts, without knowing the manner in which the whole is connected, and before he comes to the final catastrophe, is a most presumptuous absurdity.
    • 1836 March – 1837 October, Charles Dickens, “(please specify the chapter name)”, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published 1837, →OCLC:
      "That reptile," whispered Pott, catching Mr. Pickwick by the arm, and pointing towards the stranger. "That reptile — Slurk, of the Independent!"
    • 1847 December, Ellis Bell [pseudonym; Emily Brontë], chapter XXVII, in Wuthering Heights, volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Thomas Cautley Newby, [], →OCLC:
      [] If I pitied you for crying and looking so very frightened, you should spurn such pity. Ellen, tell him how disgraceful this conduct is. Rise, and don’t degrade yourself into an abject reptile—don’t!


Related terms



reptile (not comparable)

  1. Creeping; moving on the belly, or by means of small and short legs.
  2. Grovelling; low; vulgar.
    a reptile race or crew    reptile vices


See also


French reptile definition


Borrowed from Latin rēptilis.



reptile m (plural reptiles)

  1. reptile

Derived terms

Further reading

Latin reptile definition


Substantivized neuter of rēptilis (creeping), taken from the phrase animal rēptile.



rēptile n (genitive rēptilis); third declension

  1. (Late Latin) a reptile


Third-declension noun (neuter, “pure” i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative rēptile rēptilia
Genitive rēptilis rēptilium
Dative rēptilī rēptilibus
Accusative rēptile rēptilia
Ablative rēptilī rēptilibus
Vocative rēptile rēptilia