Hypertext Webster Gateway: "serpent"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

(Heb. nahash; Gr. ophis), frequently noticed in Scripture. More
than forty species are found in Syria and Arabia. The poisonous
character of the serpent is alluded to in Jacob's blessing on
Dan (Gen. 49:17; see Prov. 30:18, 19; James 3:7; Jer. 8:17).
(See {ADDER}.)

This word is used symbolically of a deadly, subtle, malicious
enemy (Luke 10:19).

The serpent is first mentioned in connection with the history
of the temptation and fall of our first parents (Gen. 3). It has
been well remarked regarding this temptation: "A real serpent
was the agent of the temptation, as is plain from what is said
of the natural characteristic of the serpent in the first verse
of the chapter (3:1), and from the curse pronounced upon the
animal itself. But that Satan was the actual tempter, and that
he used the serpent merely as his instrument, is evident (1)
from the nature of the transaction; for although the serpent may
be the most subtle of all the beasts of the field, yet he has
not the high intellectual faculties which the tempter here
displayed. (2.) In the New Testament it is both directly
asserted and in various forms assumed that Satan seduced our
first parents into sin (John 8:44; Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3, 14;
Rev. 12:9; 20:2)." Hodge's System. Theol., ii. 127.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Serpent \Ser"pent\, n. [F., fr. L. serpens, -entis (sc. bestia),
fr. serpens, p. pr. of serpere to creep; akin to Gr. ???,
Skr. sarp, and perhaps to L. repere, E. reptile. Cf.
1. (Zo["o]l.) Any reptile of the order Ophidia; a snake,
especially a large snake. See Illust. under {Ophidia}.

Note: The serpents are mostly long and slender, and move
partly by bending the body into undulations or folds
and pressing them against objects, and partly by using
the free edges of their ventral scales to cling to
rough surfaces. Many species glide swiftly over the
ground, some burrow in the earth, others live in trees.
A few are entirely aquatic, and swim rapidly. See
{Ophidia}, and {Fang}.

2. Fig.: A subtle, treacherous, malicious person.

3. A species of firework having a serpentine motion as it
passess through the air or along the ground.

4. (Astron.) The constellation Serpens.

5. (Mus.) A bass wind instrument, of a loud and coarse tone,
formerly much used in military bands, and sometimes
introduced into the orchestra; -- so called from its form.

{Pharaoh's serpent} (Chem.), mercuric sulphocyanate, a
combustible white substance which in burning gives off a
poisonous vapor and leaves a peculiar brown voluminous
residue which is expelled in a serpentine from. It is
employed as a scientific toy.

{Serpent cucumber} (Bot.), the long, slender, serpentine
fruit of the cucurbitaceous plant {Trichosanthes
colubrina}; also, the plant itself.

{Serpent eage} (Zo["o]l.), any one of several species of
raptorial birds of the genera {Circa["e]tus} and
{Spilornis}, which prey on serpents. They inhabit Africa,
Southern Europe, and India. The European serpent eagle is
{Circa["e]tus Gallicus}.

{Serpent eater}. (Zo["o]l.)
(a) The secretary bird.
(b) An Asiatic antelope; the markhoor.

{Serpent fish} (Zo["o]l.), a fish ({Cepola rubescens}) with a
long, thin, compressed body, and a band of red running

{Serpent star} (Zo["o]l.), an ophiuran; a brittle star.

{Serpent's tongue} (Paleon.), the fossil tooth of a shark; --
so called from its resemblance to a tongue with its root.

{Serpent withe} (Bot.), a West Indian climbing plant
({Aristolochia odoratissima}).

{Tree serpent} (Zo["o]l.), any species of African serpents
belonging to the family {Dendrophid[ae]}.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Serpent \Ser"pent\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Serpented}; p. pr. &
vb. n. {Serpenting}.]
To wind like a serpent; to crook about; to meander. [R.]
``The serpenting of the Thames.'' --Evelyn.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Serpent \Ser"pent\, v. t.
To wind; to encircle. [R.] --Evelyn.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: limbless scaly elongate reptile; some are venomous [syn: {snake},
2: a firework that moves in serpentine manner when ignited
3: an obsolete bass cornet; resembles a snake

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