Ou·​ro·​bo·​ros ˌyu̇r-ō-ˈbȯr-əs How to pronounce Ouroboros (audio)
variants or ouroboros or less commonly Uroboros or uroboros
: a circular symbol that depicts a snake or dragon devouring its own tail and that is used especially to represent the eternal cycle of destruction and rebirth
usually ouroboros or less commonly uroboros : something (such as a never-ending cycle) that is likened to or suggestive of the Ouroboros symbol
Trauma is a time traveller, an ouroboros that reaches back and devours everything that came before.Junot Díaz
But as Hollywood continues its transformation into a reboot ouroboros of unoriginal ideas, I have a tiny bit of fear that these projects will be disasters.Miles Surrey

Examples of Ouroboros in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In like fashion, the Ouroboros snake that is the music world lives, breathes and progresses by repetitively making a grand meal of its own ass. Jonathan Rowe, Spin, 11 Aug. 2023 Chatbots cite one another in a misinformation ouroboros. James Vincent, The Verge, 26 June 2023 In ancient mythology, a tail-eating snake is called an ouroboros, from the Greek word that literally means tail-eating. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2023 This robot—the brainchild of students at Northeastern University—is meant to wiggle across difficult terrain, measure water in the pit of craters, and bite its own tail to become a spinning ouroboros tumbling down the side of a lunar cliff. WIRED, 15 Feb. 2023 So basically, the AI becomes an ouroboros eating its own logical tail. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 14 Oct. 2022 The digital simulation produces a video loop of an ouroboros, a snake eating its tail, historically a symbolic of infinity or the cycle of life, death and rebirth. April Wallace, Arkansas Online, 25 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Ouroboros.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Late Greek ourobóros "devouring (its) tail" (modifying drákōn "dragon, snake") from Greek ourá "tail" + -o- + -boros, nominal derivative from the base of bibrṓskein "to eat, eat up, devour" — more at ass entry 2, voracious

First Known Use

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Ouroboros was in 1921

Dictionary Entries Near Ouroboros

Cite this Entry

“Ouroboros.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ouroboros. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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