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snake in the grass

a treacherous person, especially one who feigns friendship.
a concealed danger.
Origin of snake in the grass
1690-1700 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Slang definitions & phrases for snake-in-the-grass



  1. Agents who arrange illegal immigration of Chinese: Sung and the elders in the family raised thousands of dollars to pay the snakeheads to smuggle the young to America (1990s+)
  2. Smuggler; somebody who smuggles illegal immigrants from mainland China into Hong Kong
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with snake-in-the-grass

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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