side·​wind·​er | \ ˈsīd-ˌwīn-dər How to pronounce sidewinder (audio) \

Definition of sidewinder

1 : a heavy swinging blow from the side
2 : a small pale-colored desert rattlesnake (Crotalus cerastes) of the southwestern U.S. that moves by thrusting its body diagonally forward in a series of flat S-shaped curves

Illustration of sidewinder

Illustration of sidewinder

sidewinder 2

Examples of sidewinder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lifted with two outs in the second, with no dents or scratch, allowed the Padres to match up lefty sidewinder Hill to match up with left-handed Matt Carpenter. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Unexpected Padres starter Craig Stammen delivers in clinching game against Cardinals," 2 Oct. 2020 Stillwater’s limo ride swaggers a little more with this Zep sidewinder. Matt Wake |, al, "‘Almost Famous’ at 20: Ranking every song from beloved rock film," 18 Aug. 2020 Johnson poured in a 27 foot-sidewinder at eight, a 9-footer at nine and drilled a 24-foot putt from off the green at 10 for his third straight birdie. Adam Schupak, The Arizona Republic, "Dustin Johnson rallies for 21st PGA Tour win at Travelers Championship," 29 June 2020 One day, Garoppolo was throwing sidewinders to slot receiver Trent Taylor. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "How will Garoppolo’s overtime work with 49ers receivers pay off?," 8 Aug. 2019 Bochy won a strategy duel against Don Mattingly by getting a favorable matchup: pinch-hitter Donovan Solano against left-handed sidewinder Brian Moran. Henry Schulman,, "Giants fall weakly again as one mistake costs Bumgarner a shot at milestone Oracle win," 14 Sep. 2019 The researchers also learned that the speed of a sidewinder’s attack did not correlate with success. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "‘Ninja' rat kicks snake in midair in amazing slo-mo video," 5 Apr. 2019 The McDonnell-Douglas aircraft are single-seat tactical fighters, with armament that includes sidewinder missiles and a six-barrel cannon. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "NORAD: Fighter jets were trying to direct stolen plane over Pacific Ocean when it crashed," 11 Aug. 2018 According to the San Diego Natural History Museum, the four species of rattlers found here include the Western, Speckled and Red Diamond, all found in coastal and mountain regions, and the sidewinder which is limited to our deserts. Ernie Cowan,, "It's rattlesnake season in the county," 9 June 2018

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

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sidewinder

Time Traveler for sidewinder

Time Traveler

The first known use of sidewinder was in 1824

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sidewinder

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sidewinder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sidewinder


side·​wind·​er | \ ˈsīd-ˌwīnd-ər How to pronounce sidewinder (audio) \

Medical Definition of sidewinder

: a small pale-colored venomous rattlesnake of the genus Crotalus (C. cerastes) of the southwestern United States that moves by thrusting its body diagonally forward in a series of S-shaped curves

called also horned rattlesnake

More from Merriam-Webster on sidewinder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sidewinder Encyclopedia article about sidewinder

Comments on sidewinder

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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