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 The owner also explained that the city removed two other snakes from his residence, including a pit viper. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 5 Aug. 2021 The team analyzed the genome of the Taiwan habu (Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus) brown pit viper to see which genes are associated with the venom system. Chris Smith, BGR, 5 Apr. 2021 But a paper published in 2013 in the Journal of Comparative Pathology found that of 4,087 pit viper hatchlings studied, three hatched with bicephaly, and of 324 rattlesnake hatchlings, none had bicephaly. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 Snake-lovers celebrated the inclusion of the lime-green Mangshan pit viper. The Economist, 27 Feb. 2021 The expedition team also found the mountain fer-de-lance (Bothrops monsignifer), a new species of venomous pit viper, which uses heat-sensing pits on its head to detect prey, and the Bolivian flag snake (Eutrachelophis sp. Eric Niiler, Wired, 14 Dec. 2020 The venom of the Brazilian pit viper, which causes a sudden drop in blood pressure in its prey. Samantha Bresnahan, CNN, 9 Nov. 2020 But Salazar’s pit viper seems to be set apart from the rest by an orange-reddish stripe found on the sides of the heads of males, according to Annie Lord at the Independent. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Apr. 2020 Now, the tables have turned, with scientists in India lending the fictional name to a new species of snake: Trimeresurus salazar, or Salazar’s pit viper, reports Rahul Karmakar for The Hindu. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Apr. 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Pit viper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pit%20viper. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for pit viper

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pit viper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pit viper

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pit viper


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