A serpent is a snake. If you keep a serpent as a pet, you may have to get used to feeding it live mice.

While you're probably more likely to use the word snake for this slithery reptile, serpent tends to be the word that shows up in folk tales and mythology. Serpents have represented qualities ranging from evil to fertility to poison throughout history, and even today the symbol of medicine is a staff entwined by a serpent. The Latin root is serpentem, "creeping thing," from serpere, "to creep."

Definitions of serpent

n limbless scaly elongate reptile; some are venomous

ophidian, snake
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colubrid, colubrid snake
mostly harmless temperate-to-tropical terrestrial or arboreal or aquatic snakes
blind snake, worm snake
wormlike burrowing snake of warm regions having vestigial eyes
any of various large nonvenomous snakes that kill their prey by crushing it in its coils
elapid, elapid snake
any of numerous venomous fanged snakes of warmer parts of both hemispheres
sea snake
any of numerous venomous aquatic viviparous snakes having a fin-like tail; of warm littoral seas; feed on fish which they immobilize with quick-acting venom
venomous Old World snakes characterized by hollow venom-conducting fangs in the upper jaw
hoop snake
any of various harmless North American snakes that were formerly believed to take tail in mouth and roll along like a hoop
Carphophis amoenus, thunder snake, worm snake
small reddish wormlike snake of eastern United States
ring snake, ring-necked snake, ringneck snake
any of numerous small nonvenomous North American snakes with a yellow or orange ring around the neck
hognose snake, puff adder, sand viper
harmless North American snake with upturned nose; may spread its head and neck or play dead when disturbed
leaf-nosed snake
any of various pale blotched snakes with a blunt snout of southwestern North America
grass snake, green snake
either of two North American chiefly insectivorous snakes that are green in color
green snake
any of numerous African colubrid snakes
slender fast-moving North American snakes
whip snake, whip-snake, whipsnake
any of several small fast-moving snakes with long whiplike tails
rat snake
any of various nonvenomous rodent-eating snakes of North America and Asia
Arizona elegans, glossy snake
nocturnal burrowing snake of western United States with shiny tan scales
bull snake, bull-snake
any of several large harmless rodent-eating North American burrowing snakes
king snake, kingsnake
any of numerous nonvenomous North American constrictors; feed on other snakes and small mammals
garter snake, grass snake
any of numerous nonvenomous longitudinally-striped viviparous North American and Central American snakes
Tropidoclonion lineatum, lined snake
secretive snake of city dumps and parks as well as prairies and open woods; feeds on earthworms; of central United States
Sonora semiannulata, ground snake
small shy brightly-ringed terrestrial snake of arid or semiarid areas of western North America
Haldea striatula, Potamophis striatula, eastern ground snake
in some classifications placed in genus Haldea; small reddish-grey snake of eastern North America
water snake
any of various mostly harmless snakes that live in or near water
Storeria occipitamaculata, red-bellied snake
harmless woodland snake of southeastern United States
sand snake
small North American burrowing snake
black-headed snake
small secretive ground-living snake; found from central United States to Argentina
vine snake
slender arboreal snake found from southern Arizona to Bolivia
lyre snake
mildly venomous snake with a lyre-shaped mark on the head; found in rocky areas from southwestern United States to Central America
Hypsiglena torquata, night snake
nocturnal prowler of western United States and Mexico
Leptotyphlops humilis, western blind snake
burrows among roots of shrubs and beneath rocks in desert and rocky hillside areas and beach sand of western United States
Drymarchon corais, gopher snake, indigo snake
large dark-blue nonvenomous snake that invades burrows; found in southern North America and Mexico
any of several chiefly tropical constrictors with vestigial hind limbs
New World coral snake, coral snake, harlequin-snake
any of several venomous New World snakes brilliantly banded in red and black and either yellow or white; widely distributed in South America and Central America
Old World coral snake, coral snake
any of various venomous elapid snakes of Asia and Africa and Australia
Denisonia superba, copperhead
venomous but sluggish reddish-brown snake of Australia
venomous Asiatic and African elapid snakes that can expand the skin of the neck into a hood
Hemachatus haemachatus, ringhals, rinkhals, spitting snake
highly venomous snake of southern Africa able to spit venom up to seven feet
arboreal snake of central and southern Africa whose bite is often fatal
Acanthophis antarcticus, death adder
venomous Australian snake resembling an adder
Notechis scutatus, tiger snake
highly venomous brown-and-yellow snake of Australia and Tasmania
Australian blacksnake, Pseudechis porphyriacus
large semiaquatic snake of Australia; black above with red belly
brightly colored venomous but nonaggressive snake of southeastern Asia and Malay peninsula
Oxyuranus scutellatus, taipan
large highly venomous snake of northeastern Australia
Vipera berus, adder, common viper
small terrestrial viper common in northern Eurasia
Vipera aspis, asp, asp viper
of southern Europe; similar to but smaller than the adder
Bitis arietans, puff adder
large African viper that inflates its body when alarmed
Bitis gabonica, gaboon viper
large heavy-bodied brilliantly marked and extremely venomous west African viper
Cerastes cornutus, cerastes, horned asp, horned viper, sand viper
highly venomous viper of northern Africa and southwestern Asia having a horny spine above each eye
pit viper
New World vipers with hollow fangs and a heat-sensitive pit on each side of the head
Type of:
diapsid, diapsid reptile
reptile having a pair of openings in the skull behind each eye

n a firework that moves in serpentine manner when ignited

Type of:
firework, pyrotechnic
(usually plural) a device with an explosive that burns at a low rate and with colored flames; can be used to illuminate areas or send signals etc.

n an obsolete bass cornet; resembles a snake

Type of:
cornet, horn, trump, trumpet
a brass musical instrument with a brilliant tone; has a narrow tube and a flared bell and is played by means of valves

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