\ ˈsnāk How to pronounce snake (audio) \

Definition of snake

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : any of numerous limbless scaled reptiles (suborder Serpentes synonym Ophidia) with a long tapering body and with salivary glands often modified to produce venom which is injected through grooved or tubular fangs
2 : a worthless or treacherous fellow
3 : something (such as a plumber's snake) resembling a snake


snaked; snaking

Definition of snake (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to wind (one's way, one's body in crawling, etc.) in the manner of a snake
2 : to move (something, such as logs) by dragging

intransitive verb

: to crawl, move, or extend silently, secretly, or sinuously


geographical name
\ ˈsnāk How to pronounce Snake (audio) \

Definition of Snake (Entry 3 of 3)

river 1038 miles (1670 kilometers) long in the northwestern U.S. flowing from northwestern Wyoming across southern Idaho and into the Columbia River in Washington

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Other Words from snake


snakelike \ ˈsnāk-​ˌlīk How to pronounce snakelike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for snake

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of snake in a Sentence

Noun I thought she was my friend, but she turned out to be a snake in the grass. snakes are cold-blooded, so they regulate their body temperature by alternately basking in sunlight and seeking shade Verb The road snakes through the mountains. Cables snaked across the floor. Technicians snaked cables through the set. He snaked his way through the crowd.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Rattlesnake Crawl One way to escape the cliched normality of Valentine's Day is to spend it with one of the world's most feared snakes. Nicole Ludden, azcentral, "Make this Valentine's Day one to remember. Here are lots of ideas throughout Phoenix," 4 Feb. 2020 In Hong Kong—where around 40% of SARS deaths occurred—queues at local pharmacies snake around the block and some sellers have jacked up prices on masks and heavy-duty N95 respirators. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "As coronavirus spreads, facemasks become a ‘symbol of protection’—and a lighting rod for fear," 31 Jan. 2020 Doggett, who represents a snake-like district running from Austin to downtown San Antonio, intends to vote no on the rule sending the bill to the floor, a spokeswoman said. Bill Lambrecht,, "Rep. Doggett pushes for more teeth in landmark drug-pricing bill," 11 Dec. 2019 Take a ride on the Ghost Train The theme park aspects of Theatre Bizarre are made clear on the Ghost Train, a train ride that snakes and speeds through a foggy darkness that's pierced by a flickering strobe light. Steve Byrne,, "Theatre Bizarre: 20 reasons to love Detroit's artsy masquerade party," 18 Oct. 2019 Cole was raised by his grandparents after his mother Ruby (Lili Taylor) left town; Grandpa was the leader of a snake-handling Christian church, and reciting scripture from memory remains part of dinner-table conversations. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Evening Hour': Film Review | Sundance 2020," 28 Jan. 2020 While turtle and boar meat are not uncommon in Chinese restaurants, game meats such as civet cats, snakes or pangolins tend to be considered specialties only in some regions. Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, "China’s Omnivorous Markets Are in the Eye of a Lethal Outbreak Once Again," 25 Jan. 2020 Some scientists believe another species was involved in transmitting the disease to humans, but no consensus has yet emerged on which animal, with theories ranging from snakes to mink. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Coronavirus outbreak underscores potential health risks in China’s wild animal trade," 25 Jan. 2020 Venomous snakes kill or permanently injure more than a half-million people every year. Erin Malsbury, Science | AAAS, "Tiny organs grown from snake glands produce real venom," 23 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lines of people snaked out the door and down the block waiting to enter an Iowa caucus site Monday, among the early signs of strong turnout as Democrats begin choosing a nominee to take on President Donald Trump. Author: Ryan J. Foley And Sarah Burnett, Anchorage Daily News, "Lines, some delays signal strong turnout at Iowa caucuses," 4 Feb. 2020 The river snakes about 140 miles from its headwaters in Mexico to the Gila River, a green artery in a dry landscape. Erin Stone, azcentral, "Concerns grow that Trump's wall will damage rivers, wildlife habitat on Arizona border," 3 Feb. 2020 At lunch, the line snakes through the store to one corner, where the busy deli dispenses hearty sandwiches. Dallas News, "New butcher The Meat Board has become Fort Worth’s hottest lunch spot," 29 Jan. 2020 At the Albertsons grocery store on Crenshaw Boulevard, long lines snaked through the food aisle Tuesday as shoppers made last-minute trips for their New Year’s feast. Angel Jennings, Los Angeles Times, "For many black families, New Year’s greens and black-eyed peas fill the belly and the soul," 1 Jan. 2020 At 185 miles, the Cambrian Way is the longest of the three, snaking north to south along the backbone of Wales. Amy Alipio, National Geographic, "Why hiking Wales is one of our best trips for 2020," 14 Dec. 2019 On Saturdays, the lines may snake out of the firehouse as folks queue up to see the two-tiered display, open Wednesday through Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.) and weekends (11:30 a.m.-8:30) through Jan. 1, and closed Christmas Day. Mike Klingaman,, "Meet the ‘engineer’ of Ellicott City fire department’s holiday train garden," 3 Dec. 2019 Finally, said in a general form: Curve Hn snakes through all 4n squares in a 2nx2n grid. Dave Linkletter, Popular Mechanics, "How to Paint a Room Using Math," 20 Nov. 2019 The path from the airstrip to the lagoon beach snakes through one of the Tuamotu Islands' primary forests. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Island Hopping in French Polynesia," 15 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snake.' 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 snake


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1653, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for snake


Middle English, from Old English snaca; akin to Old Norse snakr snake, Old High German snahhan to crawl

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Time Traveler for snake

Time Traveler

The first known use of snake was before the 12th century

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Statistics for snake

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Snake.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for snake


How to pronounce Snake (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of snake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an animal that has a long, thin body and no arms or legs
chiefly US, informal : a bad person who tells lies and betrays other people
: a long thin tool that is used to clear out blocked pipes



English Language Learners Definition of snake (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move like a snake : to follow a twisting path with many turns


\ ˈsnāk How to pronounce snake (audio) \

Kids Definition of snake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a limbless reptile that has a long body with scales and feeds usually on large insects or small animals and birds
2 : a person who is mean or can't be trusted


snaked; snaking

Kids Definition of snake (Entry 2 of 2)

: to crawl, wind, or move like a snake The parade snaked its way along Main Street.


\ ˈsnāk How to pronounce snake (audio) \

Medical Definition of snake

: any of numerous limbless scaled reptiles (suborder Serpentes synonym Ophidia) with a long tapering body and with salivary glands often modified to produce venom which is injected through grooved or tubular fangs

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More from Merriam-Webster on snake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snake

Spanish Central: Translation of snake

Nglish: Translation of snake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of snake for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about snake

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