Definition of anaconda in US English:



  • A semiaquatic snake of the boa family that may grow to a great size, native to tropical South America.

    Genus Eunectes, family Boidae: several species, in particular the green anaconda (E. murinus)

    • ‘I knew, of course, that seasnakes could swim and anacondas lurked the backwaters of the Amazon, but I was unprepared for how fast tiny green snakes could get from a riverbank to us.’
    • ‘Watch as a female anaconda in Venezuela hunts down a capybara - the world's largest rodent - and swallows her meal whole.’
    • ‘While accessible to surrounding tribes, the area remains largely untouched because of the belief that a giant anaconda guards its shores.’
    • ‘They are also preyed upon by mammalian predators such as cats, and by snakes such as boas and anacondas.’
    • ‘Snakes were initially heavily muscled, swamp-based creatures much like today's anacondas of South America.’
    • ‘I observe three committed young men strangling their instruments as if wrestling with man-eating anacondas.’
    • ‘While other snakes can grow longer, they cannot match the anaconda's length and bulk.’
    • ‘Even a fearsome spectacled caiman is unable to escape an anaconda's fatal embrace.’
    • ‘Actually, anacondas are slow, shy reptiles, which are found in swamps of South America.’
    • ‘Jaguars may have been their most important predators, but some are probably killed by anacondas and caimans.’
    • ‘Over 60 species can be seen ranging from giant cockroaches to crocodiles and anacondas.’
    • ‘The bite of a very large nonpoisonous snake, like a twenty-foot anaconda or python, may be considered dangerous.’
    • ‘You know the python from Africa and Asia, the anaconda from South America.’
    • ‘That man handled everything from anacondas to zebras.’
    • ‘Despite being set in the jungles of Borneo, where anacondas are not known to slither, the film has a host of giant computer-animated specimens, but it doesn't think of much to do with them.’
    • ‘The skin of an anaconda stretches across most of the ceiling.’
    • ‘More recently, two giant anacondas vanished from their cages on the very day a major police operation named after them commenced and were just as mysteriously repatriated after a nationwide alarm was raised.’
    • ‘Can we look for lions and anacondas to take pictures of?’
    • ‘You got the python, Larry, the anaconda and the boa constrictor.’
    • ‘This reptile family includes such notable snakes as anacondas, pythons, and boa constrictors, all big animals notorious for their ability to tackle prey even larger than themselves.’


Mid 18th century (originally denoting a kind of Sri Lankan snake): unexplained alteration of Latin anacandaia ‘python’, from Sinhalese henakaňdayā ‘whip snake’, from hena ‘lightning’ + kaňda ‘stem’.