- a large, thick-bodied, African viper, Bitis arietans, that inflates its body and hisses when disturbed.
- a similar viper, B. inornata, native to southern Africa.
Origin of puff adder
First recorded in 1780–90
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for puff-adder
The Puff-adder is the most common, as well as the most deadly, of African snakes.Chatterbox, 1905.
A puff-adder was his first thought, looking around for the reptile.The Sign of the Spider
Of all the Cape snakes the puff-adder is not only the deadliest, but by far the most to be feared.Home Life on an Ostrich Farm
The cobra and the puff-adder are the most dangerous of these fearsome things.
It is a specimen—a very rare specimen—of the South African puff-adder.Mr. Punch In Society
- a large venomous African viper, Bitis arietans, that is yellowish-grey with brown markings and inflates its body when alarmed
- another name for hognose snake
Word Origin and History for puff-adder
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper