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 Specifically that means pit vipers, which includes timber rattlesnakes (found in Connecticut) and copperheads and water moccasins. Staff Report, Hartford Courant, 7 Feb. 2024 This behavior might stem from the presence of several nearby predators, including larger geckos and pit vipers, the study said. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 3 June 2024 The new species, compared to other pit vipers, has slightly smaller males while females are a bit bigger than others, according to the study. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 5 Apr. 2024 Sri Lanka also is home to all these snakes, but its most frequent envenoming is from the hump-nosed pit viper, for which no commercially available antivenom exists. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 The institute produced more than 3,000 vials of antivenom targeting five species, including the hump-nosed pit viper. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, the timber rattlesnake — also called the American viper, black rattlesnake, eastern rattlesnake, timber rattler and canebrake — is a large pit viper with a wide distribution across the eastern half of the U.S. Muri Assuncao New York Daily News (tns), al, 14 Aug. 2022 The golden lancehead is a highly venomous pit viper. Joe Phelan, Discover Magazine, 3 Jan. 2023 The Medo pit viper is still little understood by scientists. Brent Crane, Discover Magazine, 23 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pit viper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1874, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pit viper was in 1874

Dictionary Entries Near pit viper

Cite this Entry

“Pit viper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pit%20viper. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

pit viper

: any of various mostly New World poisonous snakes that have a small pit on each side of the head and hollow fangs with holes in them

Medical Definition

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pit viper

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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