wy·​vern ˈwī-vərn How to pronounce wyvern (audio)
: a mythical animal usually represented as a 2-legged winged creature resembling a dragon

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Wyverns are often depicted as having the tail of a viper-a venomous snake-and that fact is reflected in the etymology of wyvern: it comes ultimately from the Latin word vipera, which means "viper." ("Vipera" is also, of course, the source of our word viper.) The creature the wyvern most closely resembles, however, is the also-mythical dragon. "Dragon" is a much older word-it has been in use since the 13th century, while "wyvern" dates to the early 17th-but it too has snakes in its history. The word originally referred not to the lizard-like creature we imagine today but to a huge serpent.

Examples of wyvern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The dial incorporates gold engravings of the man who made the ascent, Jacques Balmat, along with something called a wyvern, the mythical monster that was believed to have lived on Mont Blanc’s Mer de Glace glacier. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 8 June 2022 You’re on your own researching wyverns, the mascot for the team based in Incheon. Dallas News, 8 May 2020 In Franche-Comté, the region in which the holotype was discovered, ‘la vouivre’ (=the wyvern) is a legendary winged reptile. Brian Switek, Scientific American Blog Network, 5 May 2017

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

Word History


alteration of Middle English wyvere viper, from Anglo-French wivre, guivre, from Latin vipera

First Known Use

1610, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wyvern was in 1610


Dictionary Entries Near wyvern

Cite this Entry

“Wyvern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wyvern. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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