[ sahyd-wahyn-der ]
/ ˈsaɪdˌwaɪn dər /


a severe swinging blow from the side.
a rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, of southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, that has a hornlike projection over each eye and that moves in loose sand by raising loops on the body and displacing them sideways.
any Old World snake that moves by sidewinding, as various species of Bitis and Cerastes.
(initial capital letter) an air-to-air, supersonic weapon that intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft using an infrared homing-guidance system.

Nearby words

  1. sideway,
  2. sideways,
  3. sidewheel,
  4. sidewheeler,
  5. sidewind,
  6. sidhe,
  7. sidi ifni,
  8. sidi-bel-abbès,
  9. siding,
  10. sidle

Origin of sidewinder

First recorded in 1830–40; side1 + winder Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sidewinder

British Dictionary definitions for sidewinder


/ (ˈsaɪdˌwaɪndə) /


a North American rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, that moves forwards by a sideways looping motion
boxing, US a heavy swinging blow from the side
a US air-to-air missile using infrared homing aids in seeking its target
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 sidewinder



small horned rattlesnake of southwestern U.S., 1875, American English, from side (adj.) + agent noun of wind (v.), so called in reference to its "peculiar lateral progressive motion." Also sidewiper (1888).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper