• synonyms


[fer-dl-ans, -ahns]
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  1. a large pit viper, Bothrops atrox, of tropical America.
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Origin of fer-de-lance

1875–80; < French: literally, spearhead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for fer de lance


  1. a large highly venomous tropical American snake, Trimeresurus (or Bothops) atrox, with a greyish-brown mottled coloration: family Crotalidae (pit vipers)
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Word Origin

C19: from French, literally: iron (head) of a lance
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

Word Origin and History for fer de lance


large poisonous snake of American tropics, 1880, from French, "lance-head," literally "iron of a lance." So called for its shape.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper