[ rat-l-sneyk ]
/ ˈræt lˌsneɪk /


any of several New World pit vipers of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, having a rattle composed of a series of horny, interlocking elements at the end of the tail.

Nearby words

  1. rattlebrain,
  2. rattlebrained,
  3. rattlehead,
  4. rattlepate,
  5. rattler,
  6. rattlesnake fern,
  7. rattlesnake flag,
  8. rattlesnake master,
  9. rattlesnake plantain,
  10. rattlesnake root

Origin of rattlesnake

An Americanism dating back to 1620–30; rattle1 + snake

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rattlesnake

British Dictionary definitions for rattlesnake


/ (ˈrætəlˌsneɪk) /


any of the venomous New World snakes constituting the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, such as C. horridus (black or timber rattlesnake): family Crotalidae (pit vipers). They have a series of loose horny segments on the tail that are vibrated to produce a buzzing or whirring sound
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 rattlesnake



1620s, from rattle + snake (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper