vi·​per | \ ˈvī-pər How to pronounce viper (audio) \

Definition of viper

1a : a common Eurasian venomous snake (Vipera berus) that attains a length of about two feet (0.6 meter), varies in color from red, brown, or gray with dark markings to black, and is usually not fatal to humans broadly : any of a family (Viperidae) of venomous snakes that includes Old World snakes (subfamily Viperinae) and the pit vipers
b : a venomous or reputedly venomous snake
2 : a vicious or treacherous person

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Synonyms for viper


serpent, snake

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Examples of viper in a Sentence

a viper sliding silently through the field

Recent Examples on the Web

If Sheeran is a model for how to embrace success without losing your soul, Jack’s agent, an industry viper named Debra (an amusing Kate McKinnon), is on hand to disabuse him of the notion that the soul even exists. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Yesterday’ imagines a world without the Beatles — and doesn’t make you want to visit," 27 June 2019 That was back in 2013, when a British citizen and his Kenyan accomplice pleaded guilty to being in possession of six live Kenya horned vipers. Maurice Oniang'o, National Geographic, "Rare vipers are being poached in Kenya—but some people are grateful," 4 Apr. 2019 Around 1932, Erdős asked, in essence, what if the precipice and pit of vipers are three paces away instead of two? Quanta Magazine, "A Magical Answer to an 80-Year-Old Puzzle," 1 Oct. 2015 Escapist chicken Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 22 minutes Makes: 4 servings Garlic scapes, stems of the garlic plant, have a friendly viper look, vibrant green color and intense fresh garlic flavor. Leah Eskin,, "How to dry-braise chicken and banish badly poached bouncy meat," 27 June 2018 Jordan Glasgow has taken snaps at viper, so has Brad Hawkins. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan LBs Devin Bush Jr., Khaleke Hudson are modern wrecking balls," 28 June 2018 But legend has it that the earliest grenade was a small box of live vipers which ancient warriors threw into the enemy’s camp. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Five Innovations to Emerge From the First World War," 11 Nov. 2018 The viper is a blend between a linebacker and safety, and plays a role in seemingly every facet of the game. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football commitment Joey Velazquez a fit in defensive scheme," 23 June 2018 Still, genetic rescue has had successful outcomes too, for panthers in Florida, bighorn sheep in Montana, vipers in Sweden and others. Steph Yin, New York Times, "Arctic Foxes on a Swedish Mountain Turned ‘Blue.’ It Was a Good Thing.," 28 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for viper

Middle English vipere, from Latin vipera

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Dictionary Entries near viper





viper's bugloss



Statistics for viper

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for viper

The first known use of viper was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of viper

: a type of poisonous snake


vi·​per | \ ˈvī-pər How to pronounce viper (audio) \

Kids Definition of viper

: a poisonous heavy-bodied snake with long hollow fangs


vi·​per | \ ˈvī-pər How to pronounce viper (audio) \

Medical Definition of viper

1 : a common Eurasian venomous snake of the genus Vipera (V. berus) that attains a length of about two feet (0.6 meter), varies in color from red, brown, or gray with dark markings to black, and whose bite is usually not fatal to humans broadly : any snake of an Old World subfamily (Viperinae) of the family Viperidae
2 : pit viper
3 : a venomous or reputedly venomous snake

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More from Merriam-Webster on viper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with viper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for viper

Spanish Central: Translation of viper

Nglish: Translation of viper for Spanish Speakers

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

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