snake in the grass

snake in the grass

noun
1.
a treacherous person, especially one who feigns friendship.
2.
a concealed danger.

Origin:
1690–1700

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Slang Dictionary

snake in the grass definition


  1. n.
    a sneaky and despised person. : How could I ever have trusted that snake in the grass?
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

snake in the grass

A treacherous person, as in Ben secretly applied for the same job as his best friend; no one knew he was such a snake in the grass. This metaphor for treachery, alluding to a poisonous snake concealed in tall grass, was used in 37 b.c. by the Roman poet Virgil (latet anguis in herba). It was first recorded in English in 1696 as the title of a book by Charles Leslie.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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