serpent

[sur-puhnt]
noun
1.
a snake.
2.
a wily, treacherous, or malicious person.
3.
the Devil; Satan. Gen. 3:1–5.
4.
a firework that burns with serpentine motion or flame.
5.
an obsolete wooden wind instrument with a serpentine shape and a deep, coarse tone. Compare ophicleide.
6.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Serpens.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin serpent-, stem of serpēns; see Serpens

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
serpent (ˈsɜːpənt)
 
n
1.  a literary or dialect word for snake
2.  Old Testament a manifestation of Satan as a guileful tempter (Genesis 3:1--5)
3.  a sly, deceitful, or unscrupulous person
4.  an obsolete wind instrument resembling a snake in shape, the bass form of the cornett
5.  a firework that moves about with a serpentine motion when ignited
 
[C14: via Old French from Latin serpēns a creeping thing, from serpere to creep; related to Greek herpein to crawl]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

serpent
c.1300, "limbless reptile," also "tempter in Gen. iii:1-5," from O.Fr. sarpent, from L. serpentem (nom. serpens) "snake," from prp. of serpere "to creep," from PIE *serp- (cf. Skt. sarpati "creeps," sarpah "serpent;" Gk. herpein "to creep," herpeton "serpent;" Alb. garper "serpent").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

serpent definition


The creature in the Book of Genesis that tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, thus committing the first act of the Fall of Man. In the New Testament, the serpent of Genesis is identified with Satan.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Serpent definition


(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.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
The giant red machine is named after the serpent, one of the few known to
  thrive in the open sea.
He plays the tape of the serpent's gurgles and snorts.
The serpent touched the friendly tusks of the elephant.
But surely the mouths are peculiarly observed, or both the mountain range and
  the serpent are upside down.
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