Synonyms for snake

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He certainly had warmed a snake on his hearth, and how was he to be rid of it?

Her tail bristled a little as it curled at the tip like a snake.

They had not seen the snake at all, but a stick that came back to the thrower's hand was magic.

"Use it on whichever of us gets the first snake bite," said Linda.

When a man is bitten by a snake in a solitary place he is in God's hands.

He saw the woman twined round him like a snake, not to be shaken off.

I began to thank my patron saint that the Snake River was crossed.

Now, when we get through the Snake River on here a piece, we'll be all right.

"We'll just cross the Snake River, and then it'll be plain sailing," he said.

When we reached the Snake River, there was no doubt that the others were mere forks.


Old English snaca, from Proto-Germanic *snakon (cf. Old Norse snakr "snake," Swedish snok, German Schnake "ring snake"), from PIE root *sneg- "to crawl, creeping thing" (cf. Old Irish snaighim "to creep," Lithuanian snake "snail," Old High German snahhan "to creep"). In Modern English, gradually replacing serpent in popular use.

Traditionally applied to the British serpent, as distinguished from the poisonous adder. Meaning "treacherous person" first recorded 1580s (cf. Old Church Slavonic gadu "reptile," gadinu "foul, hateful"). Applied from 17c. to various snake-like devices and appliances. Snakes! as an exclamation is from 1839.

Snake eyes in crap-shooting sense is from 1919. Snake oil is from 1927. Snake-bitten "unlucky" is sports slang from 1957, from a literal sense, perhaps suggesting one doomed by being poisoned. The game of Snakes and Ladders is attested from 1907. Snake charmer is from 1813. Snake pit is from 1883, as a supposed primitive test of truth or courage; figurative sense is from 1941. Phrase snake in the grass is from Virgil's Latet anguis in herba [Ecl. III:93].



Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.