Definition of snake in English:

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Pronunciation: /snāk/


1A long limbless reptile that has no eyelids, a short tail, and jaws that are capable of considerable extension. Some snakes have a venomous bite.
  • Suborder Ophidia (or Serpentes), order Squamata: many families.
Example sentences
  • The copperhead, a venomous snake, is dangerous, but its bite is rarely life-threatening to healthy adult humans.
  • Only about 50% of bites by exotic venomous snakes inject sufficient venom to cause clinical envenoming.
  • The illegible writing begins to shift and change, turning into a snake biting its own tail, which twirls in a circle.
literary serpent
Zoology  ophidian
1.1(In general use) a limbless lizard or amphibian.
2 (also snake in the grass) A treacherous or deceitful person: that man is a cold-blooded snake
More example sentences
  • And some CBS people I've talked to, as you well know, have referred to you as selfish, as sleazy, as a snake in the grass, and some other things that I can't say on the air.
  • Louise is just a snake in the grass who can't be trusted.
  • You're nothing more than a lecherous snake in the grass, Shawn.
3 (in full plumber's snake) A long flexible wire for clearing obstacles in piping.
Example sentences
  • As expected, they encountered the clog much farther down the pipe than the first plumber's snake could have reached from under the sink.
  • Step 3: If the closet auger is not effective, use a small snake in the same way as described for opening lavatory drains.
  • Plugged and or restricted drain lines need to be snaked out using a plumber drain cleaning snake.
4 (the snake) A former system of interconnected exchange rates for the currencies of EC countries.
Example sentences
  • Market pressures also busted the snake, as governments were unable to keep their currencies within these bands.
  • However, the snake was not very successful in limiting exchange rate fluctuations.
  • After France and Italy left the snake their currencies depreciated, making their goods more competitive than German goods.


[no object]
Move or extend with the twisting motion of a snake: a rope snaked down
More example sentences
  • Before them the land was reasonably flat, a single road snaking through the grass and disappearing into a wood not far away.
  • The road snaked upward, its old pavement cracked in places, making the ride a bit rough.
  • It's quite impressive to see all the cars and trucks snaking down the hill and past the end of my road.



Pronunciation: /ˈsnākˌlīk/
Example sentences
  • Its teeth, rotting and yellow, were complemented by a long snake-like tongue that flicked around inside of a slimy, saliva filled mouth.
  • Her dark snake-like pupils amid rust-colored eyeballs made a look his way, showing an emotional intensity never noticed before.
  • On the way home, she showed off her sword: a beautiful five-foot long katana blade with a jade hilt in the shape of a snake-like Asian dragon.


Old English snaca, of Germanic origin.

  • Snakes take their name from the fact that they have no legs and crawl along the ground. The ancestor of snake is an ancient Germanic word that meant ‘to crawl or creep’. Serpent (Middle English) has a similar origin—it comes from Latin serpere, which also meant ‘to crawl or creep’. Yet another word with this original sense was Old English slink. You can describe a treacherous person as a snake in the grass, with the idea of a lurking danger. Snakes are associated with treachery not only in Genesis but in the 6th century bc fables of the Greek storyteller Aesop. In one of his stories a man finds a snake frozen with cold and puts it close to his chest to warm it up. As soon as the snake revives it bites him ( see also viper). Before the 17th century the equivalent phrase had featured toads, which were at one time thought to be poisonous—a treacherous person was called a pad in the straw (pad is an old dialect word for a toad). The current expression may have originated from a Latin poem by the Roman poet Virgil. The children's game Snakes and Ladders, called in the USA Chutes and Ladders, was first played at the end of the 19th century. It may be based on an ancient Indian game called Moksha Patamu, which was used to teach children about the Hindu religion—the good squares allowed a player to go to a higher level of life, whereas the evil ‘snakes’ sent them back through reincarnation to lower tiers of life.

Words that rhyme with snake

ache, awake, bake, betake, Blake, brake, break, cake, crake, drake, fake, flake, forsake, hake, Jake, lake, make, mistake, opaque, partake, quake, rake, sake, shake, sheikh, slake, splake, stake, steak, strake, take, undertake, wake, wideawake

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: snake

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