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[sahyd-wahyn-der] /ˈsaɪdˌwaɪn dər/
a severe swinging blow from the side.
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.
any Old World snake that moves by sidewinding, as various species of Bitis and Cerastes.
(initial capital letter) an air-to-air, supersonic weapon that intercepts and destroys enemy aircraft using an infrared homing-guidance system.
1830-40; side1 + winder Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sidewinder
  • But in the water, goes back to the sidewinder motion of a tail-propelled river creature.
  • Worker was test-starting an engine to put in sidewinder.
  • When the truck is filled, the load line valves are closed and the sidewinder valve is opened.
  • Additionally, various rattlesnakes inhabit the area, of which the sidewinder is unique.
British Dictionary definitions for sidewinder


a North American rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, that moves forwards by a sideways looping motion
(boxing, US) a heavy swinging blow from the side
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 sidewinder

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 sidewinder

sidewinder 1

  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

  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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