ser·​pent | \ ˈsər-pənt How to pronounce serpent (audio) \

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

The particular python found on Sunday is the Everglade's largest on record, but only by a smidge: In 2016, researchers tracked down a 16-foot, 140-pound serpent somewhere in the marshlands. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Capture the Biggest Snake Ever Found in the Florida Everglades," 8 Apr. 2019 Distraught by a snake targeting her beloved backyard birds and squirrels, an 89-year-old woman took matters into her own hands, killing the 6-foot-long serpent with a hammer to its head. Markeith Cromartie, USA TODAY, "89-year-old Florida woman battles and kills 6-foot snake after it eats visiting birds," 9 Aug. 2019 When threatened, the caterpillars can retract their legs and expand the front segments of their bodies to make a quick change from humble caterpillar into scary serpent. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Imitation crab? Meet 6 creatures that steal others’ looks," 7 Aug. 2019 Queen Victorias’ engagement ring from her beloved Albert was a ruby and emerald serpent. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Scarlett Johansson Shows the World How to Choose a Third Engagement Ring," 25 July 2019 Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele is also overseeing the high-jewelry collection, employing the animal motifs seen throughout his designs, with lions, serpents and tigers taking center stage here. Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, "The Latest Red Carpet-Ready Looks From Paris High-Jewelry Collections," 8 July 2019 What are the smallest sized cosmic serpents that will be required for these? Quanta Magazine, "The Prime Rib Problem," 14 Aug. 2017 She is usually portrayed as a hideous clawed mother goddess, decked out in writhing serpents, with a grotesque necklace of dangling human hearts, skulls, and hands. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cowardly Incoherence of Name-Changing, Statue-Toppling, and other Iconoclasms," 25 June 2019 That Follow, the debut feature from Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, which delves into the serpent-focused doings of a secluded Appalachian religious community. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Them That Follow Is a Lazy Portrait of Religious Fanaticism," 20 June 2019

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 2019

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

literary : a usually large snake


ser·​pent | \ ˈsər-pənt How to pronounce serpent (audio) \

Kids Definition of serpent

: a usually large snake

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Comments on serpent

What made you want to look up serpent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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