\ 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 Senator Elizabeth Warren’s social media feeds are crawling with snakes. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Why Elizabeth Warren's Social Media Is Flooded With Snake Emoji," 15 Jan. 2020 Adam’s fingers wrapped themselves around the mic like a snake clutching its prey. Deena Elgenaidi, Longreads, "Infatuation," 7 Jan. 2020 Photographer David Herasimtschuk says this image may be the first of a hellbender attempting to eat a snake. National Geographic, "How many species haven't we found yet?," 26 Dec. 2019 Parents should teach their children about the potential dangers posed by snakes. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Venomous snake captured after it bites man, 19," 10 July 2019 Then a river of silver cardinal fish, and clown fish in their anemones, and snake eels, which look like something out of Star Wars, and all of this just in one sweep of turning your head. Charlotte Davey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Underwater Photographer David Doubilet on Seeing 50 Years of Coral Bleaching Firsthand," 18 Dec. 2019 The ordinance requires owners of alligators, crocodiles and venomous snakes to store and transport their pets in escape-proof containers. USA TODAY, "First Spouse Dolls, Snowstang, sand sculpture: News from around our 50 states," 7 Dec. 2019 In both the books and in Thorne’s adaptation, a sinister organization called the Magisterium rules over the inhabitants of Lyra’s world (many of its high-ranking members have daemons in the form of rats or snakes). Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "Building the Worlds of His Dark Materials," 3 Dec. 2019 The area Daniel disappeared from is swampy and infested with alligators and snakes. Carol Robinson |, al, "Gone without a trace? Misery, mystery linger in these Alabama missing child cases," 12 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb More than 750 people braved long lines snaking through a section of the Brookwood Village shopping mall as Donald Trump Jr. launched his book tour Thursday night in Birmingham. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Hundreds turn out in Birmingham for Donald Trump Jr. book tour launch," 8 Nov. 2019 With its low frame and snaking neck, this bird is anatomically designed for snatching objects and causing mischief (its abilities in the game include honking, grabbing, crouching, and flapping). Kriston Capps, The Atlantic, "The Viral Video Game Where You Play a Horrible Goose," 5 Oct. 2019 All around me snaked the invisible battle lines of an intensifying range war between the Afar and Issa pastoralists—two competing herder groups whose shallow wells were drying up, whose pastures were thinning from a relentless cycle of droughts. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, "A storyteller chronicles the mass migrations that define our age," 17 July 2019 Neither are even more sophisticated surgical interventions, like one where a catheter snakes up through an artery in the neck to pluck the clot out of the brain. Oliver Staley, Quartz Africa, "Zambia has 17 million people, a stroke epidemic, and no neurologists," 30 Dec. 2019 As an early, cold dusk settled in, Pete drove us back to the lodge, which sits in an alpine valley at the end of a 38-mile-long driveway snaking westward from Raton. Joshua Berman, The Know, "Vacation with mountain lions, bobcats and bison only four hours away from Denver," 27 Dec. 2019 The Popeyes chicken sandwich created chaos at locations across the country, where lines of customers snaked out the door and drive thru. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, azcentral, "From Popeyes to Macayo's, these were the biggest moments in metro Phoenix dining in 2019," 27 Dec. 2019 Even though, of course, there are no strokes—no gas tank, no pistons, no exhaust pipe snaking up along the rear fender. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Cake Kalk Is a Piece of Artwork You Can Ride," 26 Dec. 2019 His trailing leg embroiders the glide with lariat-like curlicues, but what draws a viewer’s eye, hypnotically, is the motor: the spiraling, snaking motion of those hips. Brian Seibert, New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Earl Tucker, a Dancer Known as ‘Snakehips’," 18 Dec. 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

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Snake.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 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

Comments on snake

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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