One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pit viper which is the largest venomous snake in the New World, found in Central and South America.
Lachesis muta, family Viperidae
- ‘This incident did nothing to increase my love of the reptile, and it was simply no good them both telling me, as they constantly did, that the only snake which will make an unprovoked attack on a human being is the South American bushmaster.’
- ‘He also finds some of the rare and unique snakes in his journey, which includes eyelash viper, the fer de lance and the bushmaster.’
- ‘José Antonio prays for guidance and, lifting his eyes, recognizes the snake: it is a bushmaster.’
- ‘Inside was a great bushmaster, the king of the venomous snakes of Northern South America.’
- ‘Ever since I was a kid names like fer-de-lance and bushmaster have been magical to me.’
Early 19th century: perhaps from Dutch bosmeester, from bos ‘bush’ + meester ‘master’.
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