Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various venomous New World snakes of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, having at the end of the tail a series of loosely attached, horny segments that can be vibrated to produce a rattling or buzzing sound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various poisonous American snakes, of genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, having a rattle at the end of its tail.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of several species of venomous American snakes belonging to the genera Crotalus and Caudisona, or Sistrurus; sometimes also called rattler. They have a series of horny interlocking joints at the end of the tail which make a sharp rattling sound when shaken. The common rattlesnake of the Northern United States (Crotalus horridus), and the diamondback rattlesnake (also called diamondback rattler, and diamondback) of the South and East (Crotalus adamanteus) and West (Crotalus atrox), are the best known. See Illust. of fang.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A venomous serpent of the family Crotalidæ, whose tail ends in a rattle or crepitaculum; a crotaliform or solenogly phic serpent, or pit-viper, of either of the genera Crotalus and Crotalophorus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pit viper with horny segments at the end of the tail that rattle when shaken

Etymologies

rattle +‎ snake (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • WORD: rattlesnake

    DEFINITION:

    (1) ' n. Any of various poisonous American snakes, of genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, having a rattle at the end of its tail. ' -- Wiktionary

    (2) According to Kurt Vonnegut, the rattlesnake is a creature so inimical to humankind that it makes you wonder about the vaunted benevolence of the Creator of the Universe. (E.g., serpent in the Garden of Eden).

    EXAMPLE:

    ' Dwayne mimicked her cruelly in a falsetto voice . . . He looked about as pleasant and relaxed as a coiled rattlesnake now. It was his bad chemicals, of course, which were compelling him to look like that . . .

    ' The Creator of the Universe had put a rattle on its the rattlesnake's tail. The Creator had also given it front teeth which were hypodermic syringes filled with deadly poison.

    ' Sometimes I wonder about the Creator of the Universe. '

    -- From Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions -- Chapter 15 (page 159 - 160).

    1973 KURT VONNEGUT, JR. Breakfast of Champions, or, Goodbye Blue Monday

    August 28, 2013

  • A variety of green bean. Rattlesnake Pole Bean.

    July 31, 2011