pit viper


Definition of pit viper

: any of various mostly New World vipers (subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae) with a sensory pit on each side of the head and hollow perforated retractable fangs

Examples of pit viper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Everybody knows about the fer-de-lance, which is the deadly pit viper. Jerry Beilinson, Popular Mechanics, "Confessions of a Reality-Show Survival Guide," 9 Oct. 2013 Thankfully the United States is home to fewer venomous snake species than other parts of the world, but several native types of pit vipers and coral snakes can deliver dangerous toxic enzymes with a single strike. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "12 Snakebite First Aid Tips You Need to Know This Summer," 8 May 2018 Both are pit vipers and have triangular heads and fangs. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "First copperhead snakebite in Maryland this year is reported," 19 Apr. 2018 Except for the very gory part, the world's largest roundup somewhat resembles a Texas county fair with pit vipers instead of livestock, and snake-handlers replacing ranch kids. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "As other rattlesnake roundups fade, Sweetwater is going strong," 10 Mar. 2018 Bruno was bitten by a pit viper snake and almost died. National Geographic, "Two Men Set Out To Find Borneo’s Jungle Tribes. One Never Came Back.," 10 Mar. 2018 That was the reason researchers from the National University of Singapore gave when applying for funding to sequence the temple pit viper’s genome earlier this year, writes Samantha Boh for the Singapore Times. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "How Scientists Decide Which Animal Genomes to Sequence," 4 Oct. 2017 Trails had to be cut from the dense understory with machetes, pit vipers lurked everywhere and nasty spines that grow on many plants could easily puncture boots and skin. Gabriel Popkin, Smithsonian, "How Scientists And Indigenous Groups Can Team Up to Protect Forests and Climate," 3 May 2017 The snake that bit Rachel Myrick is a North American copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix, a type of pit viper. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "What You Need to Know About Recent Copperhead Bites," 25 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pit viper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pit viper

1874, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of pit viper was in 1874

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pit viper


Medical Definition of pit viper

: any of various mostly New World highly specialized venomous snakes (as the rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, and fer-de-lance) that belong to a subfamily (Crotalinae) of the family Viperidae, that have a small depression on each side of the head between the eye and the nostril, and that have hollow perforated fangs usually folded back in the upper part of the mouth but erected in striking

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pit viper

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