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

Note the warning about rattlesnakes: This is another reason to keep your dog on a leash. Los Angeles Times, "L.A. Walks: Limekiln Canyon Park is an unexpected, shady oasis," 9 Aug. 2019 There’s not much between those cities except the dusty prairies and grasslands of the Great Plains, where the buffalo used to roam and where still the deer and the antelope play alongside prairie dogs, jackrabbits, and even rattlesnakes. Mary Ann Anderson, Twin Cities, "Lubbock is smack in middle of nowhere — and everywhere," 20 July 2019 As always in the Southern California mountains, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. Charles Fleming, latimes.com, "L.A. Walks: Explore an old winery site on a La Crescenta ramble," 12 July 2019 Even rattlesnakes have an important role to play by keeping our rodent population in check. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Who knew snakes drink water?," 29 June 2019 Facebook screenshot/Dalton Dorris A Tennessee man learned the hard way that a bite from even a small rattlesnake is something that can’t be ignored. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "‘Horrifying’ photos show result when man tried to ignore a ‘baby rattlesnake’ bite," 4 June 2019 Instead, rattlesnakes – and other various species of snake – are venomous. Claire Rafford, azcentral, "Sanctuary educates people how to safely handle venomous snakes," 28 Feb. 2019 The highway is adorned with the occasional flattened rattlesnake and signs warning to watch for big horn sheep crossing the road. Thomas Peele, The Mercury News, "Gilroy gunman holed up in isolated Nevada town where it’s easy to be anonymous," 30 July 2019 Police said Monday that multiple gullies, shale slopes, low shade, direct sun and rattlesnakes presented challenges in the search at Grandview Campground, which is 8,600 feet in elevation. Alexa Díaz, latimes.com, "Huntington Beach woman missing in Inyo County as search enters fourth day," 15 July 2019

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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Statistics for rattlesnake

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for rattlesnake

The first known use of rattlesnake was in 1624

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More Definitions for rattlesnake



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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More from Merriam-Webster on rattlesnake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rattlesnake

Spanish Central: Translation of rattlesnake

Nglish: Translation of rattlesnake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rattlesnake

Comments on rattlesnake

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