[ sur-puhnt ]
/ ˈsɜr pənt /
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a snake.
a wily, treacherous, or malicious person.
the Devil; Satan. Genesis 3:1–5.
a firework that burns with a serpentine motion or flame.
an obsolete wooden wind instrument with a serpentine shape and a deep, coarse tone.Compare ophicleide.
Serpent, Astronomy. the constellation Serpens.
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Question 1 of 6
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Origin of serpent

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin serpent-, stem of serpēns “crawling”; see origin at Serpens
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use serpent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for serpent

/ (ˈsɜːpənt) /

a literary or dialect word for snake
Old Testament a manifestation of Satan as a guileful tempter (Genesis 3:1–5)
a sly, deceitful, or unscrupulous person
an obsolete wind instrument resembling a snake in shape, the bass form of the cornett
a firework that moves about with a serpentine motion when ignited

Word Origin for serpent

C14: via Old French from Latin serpēns a creeping thing, from serpere to creep; related to Greek herpein to crawl
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

Cultural definitions for serpent


The creature in the Book of Genesis that tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, thus committing the first act of the Fall of Man. In the New Testament, the serpent of Genesis is identified with Satan.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.