At·​rac·​tas·​pis | \ ˌa‧trakˈtaspə̇s \

Definition of Atractaspis

: a genus of slender African burrowing oviparous vipers having large head shields like harmless snakes of the region but provided with long poison fangs

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for Atractaspis

New Latin, from Greek atraktos spindle, arrow + Latin aspis asp

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Atractaspis

Statistics for Atractaspis

Cite this Entry

“Atractaspis.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

Comments on Atractaspis

What made you want to look up Atractaspis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to constrict the range or activity of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!