Definition of cerastes in US English:



  • A North African viper which has a spike over each eye.

    Genus Cerastes, family Viperidae: two species, in particular the horned viper

    • ‘Crotalus comes from the Greek crotalon, a rattle or little bell; cerastes means horned, referring to the horns above its eyes.’
    • ‘The cerastes is the most flexible of all serpents, so flexible that is seems to have no spine.’
    • ‘The cerastes hides in the sand so that only its horns show; animals, thinking the horns are food, come close and are killed by the serpent.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, from Greek kerastēs ‘horned’, from keras ‘horn’.