Gaiter vs. Gator

Photo of author


Gaiter and gator are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will look at the difference in meaning between gaiter and gator, where these words came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

A gaiter is a covering that protects the lower leg and ankle, usually made of leather or cloth. The plural form is gaiters, and the word is most often used in this form as gaiters come in pairs. Gaiters may be used as part of a uniform or costume, but are most often used by mountain climbers and hikers to keep snow out of their boots. The word gaiter is derived from the mid-eighteenth-century French word guêtre, which is a word that is connected to the German word for wrist.

Gator is an American colloquialism for the word alligator. An alligator is a member of the crocodile family and is only found in North America and China. South America is home to crocodilians called caimans. The word alligator is an anglicized version of the Spanish term el lagarto, which means the lizard, the term Spanish explorers used when first encountering alligators in Florida.


If you’ve never seen gaiters before, they’re essentially a pieces of waterproof fabric that cover your boots and snowpants. (Bangor Daily News)

A pair of gaiters, which keep your lower legs dry and keep debris out of your footwear, might be worth it, too (you can get a decent pair for less than $20). (The New York Times)

Aarts was in waist-deep water when it occurred to him to go for the gator’s eyes. (The Orlando Sentinel)