ser·pent | \ˈsər-pənt \

Definition of serpent 

1a archaic : a noxious creature that creeps, hisses, or stings

b : snake

3 : a treacherous person

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Synonyms for serpent


snake, viper

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Examples of serpent in a Sentence

an Aztec carving of a feathered serpent representing the god Quetzalcoatl beware the temptations of the serpent

Recent Examples on the Web

Some scholars think Guinea worms may have been the fiery serpents said in the Bible to have attacked the Israelites in the desert. New York Times, "Nearly Eradicated in Humans, the Guinea Worm Finds New Victims: Dogs," 18 June 2018 All the new serpents belong to the genera Dipsas or Sibon, which are nonvenomous, tree-dwelling, snail-eating snakes found in South America. Alejandro Arteaga, National Geographic, "These 5 New Snake Species Suck Snails Out of Their Shells," 14 June 2018 The narrow room has lively next-gen vibe, with communal wood tables, counter service, and colorful wall murals of Laos’ famous three-headed elephant and the mythical serpent Naga — mimicking a tattoo across Phanthachit’s back. Craig Laban,, "Orlando's best dining thrills are outside the parks," 22 June 2018 In a video posted to Facebook, two Roanoke City Police are seen halting and waving cars safely around the adventurous serpent — who appeared to be using the crosswalk. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, "Why did rattlesnake cross the road? Because Virginia cops stopped traffic for it," 22 June 2018 The local word for an eclipse is also that for a fabulous, fanged sea-serpent: bakunawa. The Economist, "A new book explores the myths and reality of Rodrigo Duterte’s life," 21 June 2018 Researchers at Carnegie Mellon, for example, have developed a snake robot made of 16 decidedly unbiological actuators, or motors, that move in concert to mimic the way a real serpent would. Matt Simon, WIRED, "How Roboticists Are Copying Nature to Make Fantastical Machines," 28 June 2018 The Alfa badge and its potential meanings of a serpent eating a human or a man being reborn from its maw keep one guessing. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "What's it like to drive a historic Italian roadster? We find out," 8 June 2018 The officials then packed the serpent up in a cardboard box and relocated it. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Texas man shocked as 7-foot snake wrapped around front door grille moves in for a 'closer look'," 25 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'serpent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of serpent

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for serpent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin serpent-, serpens, from present participle of serpere to creep; akin to Greek herpein to creep, Sanskrit sarpati he creeps

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Statistics for serpent

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for serpent

The first known use of serpent was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for serpent



English Language Learners Definition of serpent

: a usually large snake


ser·pent | \ˈsər-pənt \

Kids Definition of serpent

: a usually large snake

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Comments on serpent

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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