American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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.
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. These poisonous reptiles are confined to America, where there are many species. Those whose head is covered on top with scales like those of the back belong to the genus Crotalus; others, with the top of the head plated, belong to Crotalophorus, Caudisona, or Sistrurus. The former are the larger species; both are equally venomous, in proportion to their size, and both have the pit between the eyes and nose characteristic of all the pit-vipers. (See cut under
pit-viper.) The rattle is an epidermal or cuticular structure, representing the extreme of development of the horn or spine in which the tail of many other serpents ends. It consists of several hard horny pieces loosely articulated together, so that when rapidly vibrated they make a peculiar whirring or rattling noise. Rattlesnakes are sluggish and naturally inoffensive reptiles, only seeking to destroy their prey, like other animals. When alarmed or irritated they prepare to defend themselves by coiling in the attitude best adapted for striking with the fangs, at the same time sounding the warning rattle, during which process both the head and the tail are held erect. The snake can strike to a distance of about two thirds of its own length. The mechanism of the jaws is such that, when the mouth is wide opeu, the fangs are erected in position for piercing; and, when the mouth closes upon the wound the fangs have made in the flesh, a tiny stream or venom is spirted through each fang into the bitten part. (See cuts under Crutalusand poison-fang.) The poison, which is specially modified saliva, is secreted in a venom-gland near the augle of the jaw, and is conveyed by a venom-duct to the tooth. It is extremely dangerous, readily killing the small animals upon which the snake feeds, and is often fatal to man and other large animals. It has an acid reaction, neutralizable by an alkali, and is harmless when swallowed, if there is no lesion of the mucous membrane, though exceedingly poisonous when introduced into the circulation. The flesh of the rattlesnake is edible, and some animals, as hogs and peccaries, habitually feed upon these snakes. Among the best-known species are the banded and the diamond rattlesnakes, which inhabit eastern as well as other regions of the United States, and sometimes attain a length of 5 or 6 feet; many similarly large ones are found in the west, among them Crotalus pyrrhus, of a reddish color. The commonest species of the west is the Missouri rattlesnake, C. confluentus, very widely distributed from the British to the Mexican boundary. Among the smaller species are the massasauga, Crotalophorus tergeminus (Sistrurus catenatus), also known as the sideuiper, from its habit of wriggling obliquely. One species, C. cerastes, has a small horn over each eye.
- n. Any of various poisonous American snakes, of genera Crotalus and Sistrurus, having a rattle at the end of its tail.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) 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.
- n. pit viper with horny segments at the end of the tail that rattle when shaken
- rattle + snake (Wiktionary)
“Among others, there is a sort of snake, which we call rattlesnake, from a certain object which it has back upon its tail, two or three fingers 'breadth long, and has ten or twelve joints, and with this it makes a noise like the crickets.”
“Gil probably should have thought about that and realized that a street address with the word rattlesnake in it was most likely a bad omen—that things probably wouldn’t turn out well if they tried living there.”
“Tea Party activists view the flag as a historic symbol of American defiance, but critics say the familiar flag with the image of a coiled rattlesnake is now associated with the controversial political movement.”
“Florida Conservation writes that the pygmy rattlesnake is common throughout all of Florida, and that its rattle "is small and slender and produces a sound like the buzzing of an insect.”
“The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is threatened over much of its range, and if one turned up in my back yard, I'd relocate it.”
“Our opinion of the rattlesnake is very close to the Egyptian opinion of the cat.”
“Abstract: A distinctive new species of rattlesnake is described from the western versant of the Sierra Madre del Sur of Guerrero, Mexico.”
“If you go into a church you will be forced to worship both the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Snake God, and being bitten by a rattlesnake is part of communion.”
“SENEKA SNAKE ROOT -- (Polygola Senega.) [OOYER-LEG.] The stalk of this plant grows about a foot high, upright and branched; its leaves are somewhat oval and pointed; flowers white; the root is variously bent and twisted, rough and of a jointy appearance, thought to bear some resemblance to the tail of a rattle snake; hence it is sometimes called rattlesnake root; several opinions have been given”
The Cherokee Physician, or Indian Guide to Health, as Given by Richard Foreman, a Cherokee Doctor; Comprising a Brief View of Anatomy, With General Rules for Preserving Health without the Use of Medicines. The Diseases of the U. States, with Their Symptoms, Causes, and Means of Prevention, are Treated on in a Satisfactory Manner. It Also Contains a Description of a Variety of Herbs and Roots, Many of which are not Explained in Any Other Book, and their Medical Virtues have Hitherto been Unknown to the Whites; To which is Added a Short Dispensatory.
“Lastly, some friendly advice: when the rattlesnake is rattling, it’s usually not a good idea to go poking it with a stick.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘rattlesnake’.
List of as many pea and bean varieties as I can cook up - mostly common names.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
Just kidding. Kind of.
My big word list.
reptiiles,eggs scales crocodiles chameleons lizards snakes pythons turtles reptiles dinosaurs alligators
Looking for tweets for rattlesnake.