leguaan, noun

Forms:
α. legouane, leguanShow more /ˈleɡ(ə)wɑːn/, /ˈleɡəvɑːn/, /ˈleɡjuɑːn/legouane, leguan, leguaan;
β. lagavaan, lagewaanShow more /ˈleɡəvɑːn/lagavaan, lagewaan, lakavan, legevaan, legewaan, leggevaan, leggewaan, legovaan;
γ. lekkewaan, likawaanShow more /ˈleɡəvɑːn/, /ˈləkəvɑːn/lekkewaan, likawaan, likkewan.
Origin:
Dutch, FrenchShow more Dutch leguaan from French l’iguane, le the + iguane iguana.
Note:
Despite long and well-established use in South African English, neither the spelling nor the pronunciation of this word has become standardized. (The modern Afrikaans form is likkewaan.)
Either of two species of large monitor lizard, Varanus niloticus (also called water leguaan), or V. exanthematicus subspecies albigularis (also called berg leguaan /bɜːɡ -/, [Afrikaans, berg mountain] and rock leguaan), with robust bodies and strongly-clawed, stocky limbs. Also attributive.
Note:
V. exanthematicus subspecies albigularis is associated by some with the mythical das-adder (see das sense 1 b).
α.
1790 tr. of F. Le Vaillant’s Trav. I. 391My Hottentot wits..tried to persuade him he had fired at a Legouane (a kind of large lizard, common in the rivers of Africa).
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 189The Leguan is not a crocodile at all. It is..an animal of the Lacerta class, and amphibious, but perfectly harmless.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 10A tremendous ravine..frequented by the leguaan, a species of amphibious lizard, growing to the length sometimes of six feet, but quite innoxious.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 286A large amphibious lizard, called the leguan, a species of guana, is found in the rivers.
1849 A. Smith Illust. of Zoo. of S. Afr.: Reptilia (Appendix) 6Varanus niloticus,..Leguan of the Cape Colonists.
a1875 T. Baines Jrnl of Res. (1964) II. 285A Hottentot with a fishing rod on his shoulder..had pointed out a ‘leguan’, or guana, sleeping beneath a tree.
1926 E. Prov. Herald 24 Feb. 10Boss, the leguans ate up all the little pythons just like worms.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 1108The Leguan, probably a corruption of the French (‘L’Iguane’) or Monitor Lizard, is common in South Africa.
1945 Outspan 3 Aug. 49Leguaans and meercats.
1950 W. Rose Reptiles & Amphibians 196Although the name leguaan is a corruption of the words ‘L’iguana’, iguanas belong to a totally different, vegetarian and mainly arboreal family that is not represented on the African continent.
1958 R. Collins Impassioned Wind 113I..pointed out a leguan — a giant, five foot lizard — swimming slowly up against the current with the water forming a tight, green ruff around his sinuous throat.
1972 N. Sapeika in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 303Vulture fat or leguan fat was used as an embrocation for lumbago.
1978 E. Prov. Herald 7 Nov. 6When threatened, the water leguan inflated its body and hissed loudly through its mouth, lashing its tail from side to side.
1985 H. Goosen in S. Afr. Panorama Aug. 22The berg leguaan is best-suited to a mountainous, Karoo-like environment and feeds on large insects and Karoo animals.
1986 J. Conyngham Arrowing of Cane 12Past the bank where the kingfishers nest, the lower holes deserted after leguaan raids.
1987 R. Patterson Reptiles of Sn Afr. 37On adult size alone, the Water Leguaan and the Rock Leguaan could not be mistaken for any other lizard in southern Africa. Being the largest lizards on the African continent (adults easily exceed 1 m), they are readily distinguished by their sheer size.
1989 Personality 29 May 11George tackled an enraged leguan which tried to attack children in the Friedemann family backyard.
1990 Weekend Post 5 May 8One could easily lose oneself in the timelessness of nature, watching..a leguaan slip its lazy body silently into the dark, cool depths of a river pool.
1994 M. Roberts tr. of J.A. Wahlberg’s Trav. Jrnls 1838–56 31One Leguan.., lying on the bank, which tried to get away by running swiftly into the water.
β.
1834 T.H. Bowker Journal. 23 Dec.Shoot rabbits — swim horses in the river below the garden. Shoot two Lakavans.
1894 E. Glanville Fair Colonist 87A deep wide pool, still haunt of the lagavaan, beneath a tall precipice.
1907 J.P. Fitzpatrick Jock of Bushveld 315Found deeper water..no break in the bank; there was not even a lagavaan slide, a game path, or a drinking place.
1967 E.M. Slatter My Leaves Are Green 265Nyoni’s quick eye had caught a movement in the reeds. ‘Look, Nkosana,’ he whispered, ‘a legavaan’.
1976 A. Delius Border 35Made acquaintance with a variety of creeping, crawling, or darting creatures, some of which have been identified for us..as scorpions, puffadders,..leggewaans (like monstrous lizards), [etc.].
γ.
1913 J.J. Doke Secret CityWhy, man, I’m as stiff as a lekkewaan, every bone seems broken.
1914 Farmer’s Annual 334Likawaan skin. How to cure it.
1936 Williams & May I Am Black 183The boy watched the likkewan with its shiny brown-green skin and its little lizard eyes. [In 1949 ed. changed to ‘likkewaan’.]
1943 Outspan 9 July 23They went away as lounge lizards and came back as big, brown likkewans.
1949 Cape Argus 14 May (Mag. Sect.) 10The dour old likkewaan with his whip-lash of a tail, can still be seen creeping through the shadows in search of birds’ eggs to suck.
1951 H.C. Bosman in L. Abrahams Bekkersdal Marathon (1971) 123Push a small likkewaan down the back of the visitor’s neck, and..pretend to him that it’s a mamba.
1960 D. Rooke in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories 198The intense stillness had brought a likkewaan to the wire screen where it hung like a monstrous ornament.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 175The likkewaans of the Karoo..had toned their colours down to match the grey of the veld.
1987 D. Kenmuir Tusks & Talisman 102A black-and-yellow water likkewaan was retreating cautiously, a piece of rotten fish skin dangling from its jaws.
[1989 Personality 29 May 14This is the terrain of Crocodile Dundee’s cousin, Likkewaan Labuschagne.]
Either of two species of large monitor lizard, Varanus niloticus (also called water leguaan), or V. exanthematicus subspecies albigularis (also called berg leguaanbɜːɡ -, , berg mountain and rock leguaan), with robust bodies and strongly-clawed, stocky limbs. Also attributive.
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