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sidewinder

[sahyd-wahyn-der] /ˈsaɪdˌwaɪn dər/
noun
1.
a severe swinging blow from the side.
2.
a rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, of southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, that has a hornlike projection over each eye and that moves in loose sand by raising loops on the body and displacing them sideways.
3.
any Old World snake that moves by sidewinding, as various species of Bitis and Cerastes.
4.
(initial capital letter) an air-to-air, supersonic weapon that intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft using an infrared homing-guidance system.
Origin
1830-1840
1830-40; side1 + winder
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sidewinders

sidewinder

/ˈsaɪdˌwaɪndə/
noun
1.
a North American rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, that moves forwards by a sideways looping motion
2.
(boxing, US) a heavy swinging blow from the side
3.
a US air-to-air missile using infrared homing aids in seeking its target
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sidewinders

sidewinder

n.

small horned rattlesnake of southwestern U.S., 1875, American English, from side (adj.) + agent noun of wind (v.), so called in reference to its "peculiar lateral progressive motion." Also sidewiper (1888).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sidewinders

sidewinder 1

noun
  1. A wide, looping blow with the fist; roundhouse (1840+)
  2. A tree that does not fall where it was intended to (1940s+ Loggers)

[both senses literally from a winding at or to a side, and the second sense probably influenced by sidewinder 2]


sidewinder 2

noun
  1. A dangerous and pugnacious man (1940s+)
  2. A gangster's bodyguard; gorilla: Eddy Prue, Morny's sidewinder (1940s+ Underworld)

[fr the dangerous sidewinder rattlesnake, so called fr its lateral locomotion, and presumed to be treacherous]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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