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 pit vipers in the genus Trimeresurus are venomous, and found throughout East and Southeast Asia. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Scientists discover a new snake and name it after Salazar Slytherin," 21 Apr. 2020 Only a few other animals, such as vampire bats and pit vipers, are known to have this ability. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "May We All Praise the Amazing Dog Nose, and May We Then Boop It," 28 Feb. 2020 Andueza was heading out for a slog through a swamp where pit vipers patrol the undergrowth and carnivorous caimans, hidden in dark pools, eye passersby. Daniel Grossman, Scientific American, "Peru’s Peatlands Could Greatly Accelerate Global Warming," 5 Feb. 2020 Captopril, the first of a class of drugs for high blood pressure known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors was developed from a small protein in the venom of a Brazilian pit viper. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics," 17 Oct. 2019 The other two species, also part of the pit viper family, are the timber rattlesnake and eastern massasauga. Fox News, "Pennsylvania woman bitten by venomous snake while doing laundry," 19 June 2019 Snake-mimic caterpillar The larvae of hawk moths ward off predators by impersonating deadly pit vipers. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Imitation crab? Meet 6 creatures that steal others’ looks," 7 Aug. 2019 The animals are a type of pit viper, and have small indentations in their head, between their eyes and nostrils, which allow them to sense heat. National Geographic, "Copperheads," 22 July 2019 Alligators, Chinese bamboo pit vipers, tomatillos, frogs with sling shots. James P. Dewan, chicagotribune.com, "4 easy dishes to make with tomatillos, plus a trick for getting those sticky husks off," 17 June 2019

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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Last Updated

25 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pit viper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pit%20viper. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pit viper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pit viper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pit viper

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pit viper

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