[fer-dl-ans, -ahns]


a large pit viper, Bothrops atrox, of tropical America.

Origin of fer-de-lance

1875–80; < French: literally, spearhead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fer-de-lance

Historical Examples of fer-de-lance

  • And of all bird-killing reptiles the fer-de-lance is the most destructive.

  • It may be the shortest route, indeed;—but then, the fer-de-lance!

  • He not only faces the Fer-de-lance, who is often as big as he, but kills and eats him.

    At Last

    Charles Kingsley

  • There ees a man who ees to be keeled dead, and you let heem go—that ees more foolish as to let the Fer-de-lance free.

    Plain Mary Smith

    Henry Wallace Phillips

  • He is as decent a chap as it has ever been my privilege to know, and as much to be avoided on certain occasions as a fer-de-lance.

    A New Sensation

    Albert Ross

British Dictionary definitions for fer-de-lance



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

Word Origin for fer-de-lance

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