[sneyk-root, -roo t]
  1. any of various plants whose roots have been regarded as a remedy for snakebites, as the herb Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot), having a medicinal rhizome and rootlets, and the white-flowered Polygala senega (Seneca snakeroot), having a medicinal root.
  2. the root or rhizome of such a plant.
  3. the North American bugbane.
  4. a white eupatorium, Eupatorium rugosum.
  5. a plant, Rauwolfia serpentina (or Rauvolfia serpentina), whose roots are the source of reserpine and other drugs.

Origin of snakeroot

First recorded in 1625–35; snake + root1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for snakeroot

Historical Examples of snakeroot

  • Snakeroot Sam is a mighty clever feller, and he says he will help us all he can.

    The Campers Out

    Edward S. Ellis

  • The snakeroot and the quinine did noble work, and thenceforth her recovery was rapid.

    Rolf In The Woods

    Ernest Thompson Seton

  • "Snakeroot and cinnamon," chimed in Rachel, looking up from her sewing with a very innocent face.

  • Dixon also reported that the natives have a keen sense of smell, which they quicken by the use of snakeroot.


    Ella Higginson

  • She needed no snakeroot and saffron, nor indeed any other form of herb tea.

British Dictionary definitions for snakeroot


  1. any of various North American plants, such as Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot) and Eupatorium urticaefolium (white snakeroot), the roots or rhizomes of which have been used as a remedy for snakebite
  2. the rhizome or root of any such plant
  3. another name for bistort (def. 1), bistort (def. 2)
Also called: snakeweed
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