vi·​per·​ous ˈvī-p(ə-)rəs How to pronounce viperous (audio)
: having the qualities attributed to a viper : malignant, venomous
the backstabbing of a viperous family
viperously adverb

Examples of viperous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Much of that heartache is dispensed by the popular musician Ivor Novello (a smoldering, viperous Jeremy Irvine), who sings his witty ditties at the piano and dispenses little nuggets of verbal poison everywhere else. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2022 Close is deliciously viperous as a French noblewoman seeking revenge on her ex-husband in Stephen Frears' sumptuous adaptation of the play and novel. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 25 Mar. 2021 Veazey is in the Glenn Close role — that of the Marquise de Merteuil, a viperous noblewoman of 18th-century France who enters into a cruel game with her former lover, the Vicomte de Valmont. Matthew J. Palm,, 7 Nov. 2020 The gossip in the book is fluorescently transparent and sweetly viperous, like a pink snakeskin sandal with a PVC upper. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, 2 Mar. 2020 Rachel Cusk has long been one of the finest and most invigorating stylists writing in English, graced with scientific precision, meticulous syntax, and a viperous wit. Valeria Luiselli, The New York Review of Books, 21 Mar. 2019 Luke Bradt, as the viperous Mordred, exudes negative charisma. Julia M. Klein,, 27 May 2018 Within minutes, a single unexpectedly shocking line reveals both her viperous tongue and the sheer bitterness of her character. Theodore P. Mahne,, 1 Nov. 2017 Other familiar faces include Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele), who returns as Diane’s assistant; the viperous law partner David Lee (Zach Grenier); and Charles Abernathy (Denis O’Hare), one of the quirky judges on the original show’s packed bench. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'viperous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of viperous was in 1535

Dictionary Entries Near viperous

Cite this Entry

“Viperous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


vi·​per·​ous ˈvī-pə-rəs How to pronounce viperous (audio)
: having the qualities attributed to a viper : spiteful, malevolent
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