rat·​tle·​snake | \ ˈra-tᵊl-ˌsnāk How to pronounce rattlesnake (audio) \

Definition of rattlesnake

: any of several American pit vipers (genera Crotalus and Sistrurus) that have horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when shaken

Illustration of rattlesnake

Illustration of rattlesnake

Examples of rattlesnake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Real-life subjects don’t get much juicier than Pentecostal preacher Glenn Summerford trying to kill his wife Darlene Summerford by using the bite of a five-foot rattlesnake, in 1991, in snoozy Scottsboro. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "HBO filmmakers talk wild new ‘Alabama Snake’ documentary," 12 Dec. 2020 This documentary explores the 1991 story of Glenn Summerford, a Pentecostal minister who was accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. Washington Post, "What to watch on Wednesday: ‘The Surgeon’s Cut’ on Netflix," 9 Dec. 2020 Alabama Snake Filmmaker Theo Love chronicles the story of a Pentecostal minister and serpent handler convicted of attempting to kill his wife with a rattlesnake. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical’ on NBC," 8 Dec. 2020 Its first patient was a dog bitten by a rattlesnake in 2012. Tamara Lush, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida vet school uses novel approach to save seahorse," 1 Dec. 2020 Davis kept the bag containing the mammoth rattlesnake by his bed, and Betty Morris recalls watching dozens of patients and staff tiptoe into the room to gawk, a few of whom ran shrieking down the hall afterward. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: A Taste of Death," 16 Nov. 2020 There is a large southern Pacific rattlesnake that lives in the rocks just north of the tower. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Volunteering at fire lookout towers a rewarding experience," 16 Nov. 2020 The easy access to a sink makes this room an ideal place for water-lovers like rattlesnake plants. Jenny Comita, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Expert Tips for Decorating With Houseplants So Every Room Feels Like an Oasis," 9 Nov. 2020 But what manypeople don't realize is the drug was originally derived from a protein found in the venom of the pygmy rattlesnake. Samantha Bresnahan, CNN, "Snake venom is a boon in search for life-saving drugs," 9 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rattlesnake.' 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 rattlesnake

1624, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of rattlesnake was in 1624

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Last Updated

16 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rattlesnake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rattlesnake. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for rattlesnake


How to pronounce rattlesnake (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rattlesnake

: a poisonous American snake with a group of hard, loose pieces (called scales) at the end of its tail that it shakes to make a noise


rat·​tle·​snake | \ ˈra-tᵊl-ˌsnāk How to pronounce rattlesnake (audio) \

Kids Definition of rattlesnake

: a poisonous American snake with a rattle at the end of its tail


rat·​tle·​snake | \ ˈrat-ᵊl-ˌsnāk How to pronounce rattlesnake (audio) \

Medical Definition of rattlesnake

: any of the American pit vipers that have a series of horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when vibrated and that comprise the genera Sistrurus and Crotalus — see diamondback rattlesnake, tiger rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake

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