[ sneyk ]
/ sneɪk /
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See synonyms for: snake / snaked / snaking / snakelike on Thesaurus.com

any of numerous limbless, scaly, elongate reptiles of the suborder Serpentes, comprising venomous and nonvenomous species inhabiting tropical and temperate areas.
a treacherous person; an insidious enemy.Compare snake in the grass.
Building Trades.
  1. Also called auger, plumber's snake. (in plumbing) a device for dislodging obstructions in curved pipes, having a head fed into the pipe at the end of a flexible metal band.
  2. Also called wirepuller. a length of resilient steel wire, for threading through an electrical conduit so that wire can be pulled through after it.
verb (used without object), snaked, snak·ing.
to move, twist, or wind: The road snakes among the mountains.
verb (used with object), snaked, snak·ing.
to wind or make (one's course, way, etc.) in the manner of a snake: to snake one's way through a crowd.
to drag or haul, especially by a chain or rope, as a log.
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Origin of snake

before 1000; Middle English (noun); Old English snaca; cognate with Middle Low German snake,Old Norse snākr


snakelike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does snake mean?

Snake can be slang for a person who acts in a deceitful, underhanded, or backstabbing way.

Where does snake come from?

Snakes and serpents have long been figures of danger and deception. We need look no further than the Judeo-Christian story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, where a diabolical serpent duped Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Things didn’t go too well for her or Adam after that …

Deep fears and myths, not to mention the slithering and tongue-flicking nature of the reptile, helped make the word snake refer to a “treacherous, unreliable, and deceptive person” by at least the 1580s. An extended expression is snake in the grass, or “concealed danger,” recorded in the early 1600s. Snake, as a verb for “sneak” or “cheat,” is found in the 1860s and 1870s.

It’s not all so high-brow when it comes to sneaky snakes. The cartoon The Simpsons, for instance, has featured the minor character, and comical criminal, Snake Jailbird since 1991.

How is snake used in real life?

Snake is a widely used term for an untrustworthy person, especially deceitful men in romantic contexts.

The verb snake is also used when talking about someone acting in a fiendish, snake-like way.

And then of course there are more lighthearted takes on those sly and scheming snakes out there.

More examples of snake:

“Should I Connect With this Guy? 10 Signs He May be a Snake in the Grass”
—PreEngaged (title), March 2015

“Can’t trust everybody around you, those be the main ones ready to snake you”
—@taethomas35, November 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use snake in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for snake

/ (sneɪk) /


Derived forms of snake

snakelike, adjective

Word Origin for snake

Old English snaca; related to Old Norse snākr snake, Old High German snahhan to crawl, Norwegian snōk snail
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