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[fer-dl-ans, -ahns] /ˌfɛr dlˈæns, -ˈɑns/
a large pit viper, Bothrops atrox, of tropical America.
Origin of fer-de-lance
1875-80; < French: literally, spearhead Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fer-de-lance
Historical Examples
  • He is as decent a chap as it has ever been my privilege to know, and as much to be avoided on certain occasions as a fer-de-lance.

    A New Sensation Albert Ross
  • He not only faces the fer-de-lance, who is often as big as he, but kills and eats him.

    At Last Charles Kingsley
  • It may be the shortest route, indeed;—but then, the fer-de-lance!

  • The Negroes working among the sugar-cane, and soldiers in the Martinique service, often become victims to the fer-de-lance.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • There ees a man who ees to be keeled dead, and you let heem go—that ees more foolish as to let the fer-de-lance free.

    Plain Mary Smith Henry Wallace Phillips
  • But the fer-de-lance, whose nearest home is in Guiana, is not likely to have come on board ship.

    At Last Charles Kingsley
  • I had set the signal for the fer-de-lance to land in force and wipe Buckhurst and his grotesque crew from the face of the earth.

    The Maids of Paradise Robert W. (Robert William) Chambers
  • Per Labat had believed it possible to exterminate the fer-de-lance, and had adopted extraordinary measures for its destruction.

  • And of all bird-killing reptiles the fer-de-lance is the most destructive.

  • The fer-de-lance is a great destroyer of rats, this rodent forming its principal source of food.

    Equatorial America Maturin M. Ballou
British Dictionary definitions for fer-de-lance


a large highly venomous tropical American snake, Trimeresurus (or Bothops) atrox, with a greyish-brown mottled coloration: family Crotalidae (pit vipers)
Word Origin
C19: from French, literally: iron (head) of a lance
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
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