May 22, 2012
reptile (noun)
\REP-tyle\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: any of a group of cold-blooded air-breathing vertebrates (as snakes, lizards, turtles, and alligators) that usually lay eggs and have skin covered with scales or bony plates
How do you use it?
One variety of python can grow to be about 23 feet long—which makes it one of the two largest living reptiles, the other being a kind of crocodile that can also grow to about 23 feet.
Are you a word wiz?

The word "reptile" comes from the Latin word "repere." Which of the following do you think is the correct meaning of "repere"?

Over 8,700 species of reptiles crawl the earth, and you can picture them doing just that to help you remember that "repere" means "to crawl." Snakes (like the pythons we mentioned above) are reptiles, and the ancestor of our word "snake" is related to an ancient German word "snahhan," also meaning "to crawl." The other big reptile we mentioned above, the crocodile, has a name that connects to crawling in a more subtle way. "Crocodile" comes from two Greek words, one meaning "shingle" or "pebble," and the other meaning "worm." Worms aren't reptiles, but they do crawl. "Pebble" comes into play in the way crocodiles like to sun themselves on warm rocky surfaces.
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