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amphisbaena

[am-fuh s-bee-nuh]
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noun, plural am·phis·bae·nae [am-fuh s-bee-nee] /ˌæm fəsˈbi ni/, am·phis·bae·nas.
  1. any of numerous worm lizards of the genus Amphisbaena.
  2. Classical Mythology. a serpent having a head at each end of its body and the ability to move forward or backward.

Origin of amphisbaena

1350–1400; Middle English amphibena < New Latin, Latin < Greek amphísbaina a serpent that moves forward or backward, equivalent to amphís both ways + baín(ein) to go + -a noun suffix
Related formsam·phis·bae·ni·an, am·phis·bae·nic, am·phis·bae·noid, am·phis·bae·nous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amphisbaena

Historical Examples

  • The amphisbaena, supposed to have a head at each end and move either way.

    The Works of Lucian of Samosata, v. 4

    Lucian of Samosata


British Dictionary definitions for amphisbaena

amphisbaena

noun plural -nae (-niː) or -nas
  1. any worm lizard of the genus Amphisbaena
  2. classical myth a poisonous serpent having a head at each end and able to move forwards or backwards
Derived Formsamphisbaenic, adjective

Word Origin

C16: via Latin from Greek amphisbaina, from amphis both ways + bainein to go
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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