rattlesnake

noun
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 Herpetologist Melissa Amarello, executive director of the nonprofit Advocates for Snake Preservation, has observed communal dens and parental care in rattlesnakes. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Garter snakes are surprisingly social, forming ‘friendships’ with fellow serpents," 4 May 2020 Like a swarm of rattlesnakes trying to escape their den, the first rat launches itself off the hummock toward the safety of the Roseau cane, revealing five or six others beneath. Gerry Bethge, Outdoor Life, "Hunting Nutria in the Louisiana Bayou," 21 Apr. 2020 An array of live rattlesnakes will be on display — safely contained, of course — at Cave Creek Regional Park. Nicole Ludden, azcentral, "Make this Valentine's Day one to remember. Here are lots of ideas throughout Phoenix," 4 Feb. 2020 The shaded boulder 50 yards ahead looks like a hunched black bear, and the stick on the ground in the leaves looks like a rattlesnake at first glance. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Want a peaceful, picturesque way to stay active while social distancing? Fly fishing could be the cure," 7 Apr. 2020 At 10 feet, the Ruger shot tightly enough to bust a clay or reliably kill a rattlesnake or other small critter, though the pattern was noticeably less dense than those run through the Henry. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The Henry Garden Gun is a Handy .22-Caliber Smoothbore," 1 Apr. 2020 What was hiding off the trail was a venomous rattlesnake. Alicia Lee, CNN, "A California couple was heartbroken to say goodbye to their beloved dog, Marley. So they cloned him," 27 Feb. 2020 Maybe up to three of those are rattlesnakes, said WildCare spokeswoman Alison Hermance. Adrian Rodriguez, The Mercury News, "North Bay rattlesnake sightings have residents on edge," 27 Aug. 2019 On the street, the adaptive dampers provide a smooth ride over the open road yet can firm up nicely when the pavement begins to twist into the shape of a rattlesnake. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Our 2020 BMW M340i Is a Return to Form," 24 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of rattlesnake

1624, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rattlesnake

Time Traveler for rattlesnake

Time Traveler

The first known use of rattlesnake was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Statistics for rattlesnake

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rattlesnake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rattlesnake. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rattlesnake

rattlesnake

noun
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

rattlesnake

noun
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

rattlesnake

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on rattlesnake

What made you want to look up rattlesnake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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