[mok-uh-sin, -zuh n]


a heelless shoe made entirely of soft leather, as deerskin, with the sole brought up and attached to a piece of u-shaped leather on top of the foot, worn originally by the American Indians.
a hard-soled shoe or slipper resembling this, often decorated with beads.
any of several North American snakes of the genus Agkistrodon (Ancistrodon), especially the cottonmouth.

Origin of moccasin

1605–15, Americanism; < Virginia Algonquian < Proto-Algonquian *maxkeseni Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for moccasin

sandal, shoe

Examples from the Web for moccasin

Historical Examples of moccasin

  • The end of those who are bitten by the moccasin is not pretty to see, and besides, I had business.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • One moccasin is so much like another, it is probable there is some mistake.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The rattlesnake and the moccasin are the most dangerous snakes in the United States.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

  • It closely resembles the Moccasin, a poisonous snake, and is often mistaken for it.


    Alan Douglas

  • Nothing equals the moccasin on the trail, nothing is so good to snow-shoe in.

British Dictionary definitions for moccasin



a shoe of soft leather, esp deerskin, worn by North American Indians
any soft shoe resembling this
NZ a sheepshearer's footgear, usually made of sacking
short for water moccasin

Word Origin for moccasin

C17: from Algonquian; compare Narraganset mocussin shoe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for moccasin

"North American Indian shoe" (made of deerskin or soft leather), 1610s, from an Algonquian language of Virginia, probably Powhatan makasin "shoe," from Central Atlantic Coast Algonquian *mockasin, similar to Southern New England Algonquian *makkusin, Munsee Delaware mahkusin, Ojibwa makizin. The venomous snake of southern U.S. (1784) is perhaps a different word, but Bright regards them as identical.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper