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

But there are those few who chase the exotic and anomalous: heat-seeking vipers, cold-adapted octopuses or, as in the present case, additional digits. Tom Roseberry, Scientific American, "Studying the Superhuman," 4 Sep. 2019 The site earned its moniker due to its insanely high density of golden lancehead vipers; some studies report an average of one to five snakes per square meter. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "Creepy Catacombs, Islands of Dolls, and 18 Other Terrifying Places for Thrill Seekers," 4 Sep. 2019 In Semple’s depiction, Bernadette is more than just crabby and eloquently viper-tongued; she’s possessed by a sociopolitical bitterness, as well. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” Reviewed: Richard Linklater’s Narrow View of a Creator in Crisis," 26 Aug. 2019 At Michigan the viper is always on the field; at Ohio State, the bullet will not be. Stephen Means,, "How is Ohio State football’s ‘Bullet’ different than Michigan’s ‘Viper’ position?," 19 Aug. 2019 There's more to playing viper in Brown's system than rushing the quarterback. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football: LB Anthony Solomon will look for his fit," 3 July 2019 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. Justin Chang,, "Review: 'Yesterday' imagines a world without the Beatles — and doesn't make you want to visit," 26 June 2019 In a preview screening Tuesday, guests got glimpses into the lives of three animals — a California condor, an African antelope called a klipspringer, and a Mang mountain viper. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Animal Planet show about San Diego Zoo debuts Aug. 10," 24 July 2019 The House on Telegraph Hill’’ (1951) as a Polish woman who survives a Nazi concentration camp, steals a dead friend’s identity, moves to San Francisco, and lands in a nest of vipers scheming after a fortune. Adam Bernstein,, "Valentina Cortese, Italian film actress, dies at 96," 10 July 2019

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

12 Sep 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

Comments on viper

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recurring in steady succession

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