- any of various furry carnivores (family Mustelidae) with webbed feet used in swimming and a long, slightly flattened tail; esp.,
- a North American river species (Lutra canadensis)
- sea otter
- the short, thick, lustrous fur of this animal
Origin of otterMiddle English oter ; from OE, akin to Old Norse otr ; from Indo-European an unverified form udros, a water animal (from source Sanskrit udrá-?) ; from base an unverified form wed-, to make wet from source water
nounpl. otter or ot·ters
- Any of various aquatic or semiaquatic carnivorous mammals of the mustelid subfamily Lutrinae, having webbed feet and dense, dark brown fur.
- The fur of one of these animals.
Origin of otterMiddle English oter, from Old English otor; see wed-1 in Indo-European roots.
Asian small-clawed otterAonyx cinerea
From Old English oter, from Proto-Germanic *utraz, from Proto-Indo-European *udrÃ³s (“water-animal, otter"), from *wed- (“water"). Cognate with Old High German ottar, Old Church Slavonic â°²â±â°ºâ°´â±ƒâ°° (vydra), and Ancient Greek á½•Î´ÏÎ± (hydra, “water snake"). More etymology under English water.
- (obsolete) Annatto.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster's Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.