Definition of cottonmouth in US English:



  • 1A large, dangerous semiaquatic pit viper that inhabits lowland swamps and waterways of the southeastern US. When threatening it opens its mouth wide to display the white interior.

    Agkistrodon piscivorus, family Viperidae

    Also called water moccasin
    • ‘He recently spent six months repeatedly noting the coiling configuration of twenty adult cottonmouths, a venomous species native to the southeastern United States.’
    • ‘I'm not glancing around for the next cottonmouth or even the clamping jaws of an irate alligator.’
    • ‘She comes across a cottonmouth snake by the lake and experiences a spiritual and fatal attraction.’
    • ‘Dogs bitten by any of Texas' dangerous snakes, including rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads and coral snakes, often suffer unnecessarily.’
    • ‘We couldn't always fish - sometimes there were swarms of mosquitoes or biting flies, and the pond was riddled with cottonmouths.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, he never did find the swamp, because the ground was alive with poisonous cottonmouth snakes and he didn't fancy getting bitten.’
    • ‘Those who could not get out of town would be swimming with the cottonmouths or tossed to the moon.’
    • ‘This is the only product that can neutralize toxins from rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads.’
    • ‘There are five species of poisonous snakes in the forest: the cottonmouth, coral snake, and three species of rattlers.’
    • ‘In the boxes the men heard the water rise in the trench and looked out for cottonmouths.’
    • ‘I've eaten rattlers, cottonmouths, copperheads - they all taste the same.’
    • ‘Any cottonmouth that came near me would wind up dead and I've brought home more than one fish with a bullet hole through it.’
    • ‘We stood there in the vet clinic with one of the assistants calmly considering the possible reptilian culprits - rattler, cottonmouth, or copperhead.’
    • ‘Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.’
    • ‘It's because of birds that I know the difference between a sugar maple and a red maple, a diamondback water snake and a cottonmouth, an American lady and a painted lady.’
    • ‘A rubber boot technically is not ‘snake proof’ but it can block the strike of a smallish cottonmouth.’
    • ‘We both recognized it as a moccasin, because the snake rule was simple: All snakes dropping into your boat at midnight in the river are cottonmouth moccasins, period.’
  • 2US informal Dryness of the mouth.

    ‘I often have cotton mouth and a headache when I wake up’