Pit viper
Pit Pit, n. [OE. pit, put, AS. pytt a pit, hole, L. puteus a well, pit.] 1. A large cavity or hole in the ground, either natural or artificial; a cavity in the surface of a body; an indentation; specifically: (a) The shaft of a coal mine; a coal pit. (b) A large hole in the ground from which material is dug or quarried; as, a stone pit; a gravel pit; or in which material is made by burning; as, a lime pit; a charcoal pit. (c) A vat sunk in the ground; as, a tan pit. [1913 Webster]

Tumble me into some loathsome pit. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Any abyss; especially, the grave, or hades. [1913 Webster]

Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chained. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

He keepth back his soul from the pit. --Job xxxiii. 18. [1913 Webster]

3. A covered deep hole for entrapping wild beasts; a pitfall; hence, a trap; a snare. Also used figuratively. [1913 Webster]

The anointed of the Lord was taken in their pits. --Lam. iv. 20. [1913 Webster]

4. A depression or hollow in the surface of the human body; as: (a) The hollow place under the shoulder or arm; the axilla, or armpit. (b) See {Pit of the stomach} (below). (c) The indentation or mark left by a pustule, as in smallpox. [1913 Webster]

5. Formerly, that part of a theater, on the floor of the house, below the level of the stage and behind the orchestra; now, in England, commonly the part behind the stalls; in the United States, the parquet; also, the occupants of such a part of a theater. [1913 Webster]

6. An inclosed area into which gamecocks, dogs, and other animals are brought to fight, or where dogs are trained to kill rats. ``As fiercely as two gamecocks in the pit.'' --Locke. [1913 Webster]

7. [Cf. D. pit, akin to E. pith.] (Bot.) (a) The endocarp of a drupe, and its contained seed or seeds; a stone; as, a peach pit; a cherry pit, etc. (b) A depression or thin spot in the wall of a duct. [1913 Webster]

{Cold pit} (Hort.), an excavation in the earth, lined with masonry or boards, and covered with glass, but not artificially heated, -- used in winter for the storing and protection of half-hardly plants, and sometimes in the spring as a forcing bed.

{Pit coal}, coal dug from the earth; mineral coal.

{Pit frame}, the framework over the shaft of a coal mine.

{Pit head}, the surface of the ground at the mouth of a pit or mine.

{Pit kiln}, an oven for coking coal.

{Pit martin} (Zo["o]l.), the bank swallow. [Prov. Eng.]

{Pit of the stomach} (Anat.), the depression on the middle line of the epigastric region of the abdomen at the lower end of the sternum; the infrasternal depression.

{Pit saw} (Mech.), a saw worked by two men, one of whom stands on the log and the other beneath it. The place of the latter is often in a pit, whence the name.

{pit stop}, See {pit stop} in the vocabulary.

{Pit viper} (Zo["o]l.), any viperine snake having a deep pit on each side of the snout. The rattlesnake and copperhead are examples.

{Working pit} (Min.), a shaft in which the ore is hoisted and the workmen carried; -- in distinction from a shaft used for the pumps. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pit viper — Pit Viper …   Wikipedia

  • pit viper — n. any of a subfamily (Crotalinae) of poisonous vipers with a prominent, heat sensitive pit on each side of the head, as the rattlesnake or copperhead …   English World dictionary

  • pit-viper — pit viper, water, work etc.: see pit n.1 14 …   Useful english dictionary

  • pit viper — n any of various mostly New World highly specialized venomous snakes (as the rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, and fer de lance) that belong to a subfamily (Crotalinae) of the family Viperidae, that have a small depression on each side of… …   Medical dictionary

  • pit viper — noun New World vipers with hollow fangs and a heat sensitive pit on each side of the head • Hypernyms: ↑viper • Hyponyms: ↑copperhead, ↑Agkistrodon contortrix, ↑water moccasin, ↑cottonmouth, ↑cottonmouth moccasin, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • pit viper — pit′ vi per n. ram any of various vipers, as the rattlesnake and copperhead, that have a heat sensitive pit above each nostril • Etymology: 1880–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • pit viper — any of numerous venomous snakes of the family Crotalidae, of the New World, Asia, and the Malay Archipelago, as the rattlesnake, water moccasin, and copperhead, having a heat sensitive pit on each side of the head between the eye and nostril.… …   Universalium

  • pit viper — /ˈpɪt vaɪpə/ (say pit vuypuh) noun any of the snakes of the subfamily Crotalinae, with a wide distribution in the Old and New Worlds, having a pit on each side of the head in front of the eye …   Australian English dictionary

  • pit viper — noun Date: circa 1885 any of various mostly New World vipers (subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae) with a sensory pit on each side of the head and hollow perforated retractable fangs …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pit viper — noun Any of various venomous snakes, of the family Crotalinae, found in Asia and the Americas, with a deep pit or fossa on either side of the head that enables them to detect prey by infrared. Syn: crotaline …   Wiktionary

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