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viper

viper, any of a large number of heavy-bodied, poisonous snakes of the family Viperidae, characterized by erectile, hypodermic fangs. The fangs are folded back against the roof of the mouth except when the snake strikes. Vipers are distributed throughout Eurasia and Africa. They range in size from under 1 ft (30 cm) to nearly 6 ft (2 m) and often have zigzag or diamond patterns. Best known is the common European viper, or adder (Vipera berus), distributed throughout Europe and N Asia. It feeds on small mammals and lizards and hibernates in winter. Its venom is rarely fatal to humans. The asp viper, or asp (V. aspis), is a smaller species inhabiting S Europe. The greatest variety of vipers is found in Africa. The brightly patterned Gaboon viper, Bitis gabonica, is the longest of the vipers and has a body diameter of up to 6 in. (15 cm). The puff adder, B. arietans, found over most of Africa and in Arabia, is a highly venomous species whose bite is often fatal. The pit vipers of the Americas, including the rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, fer-de-lance, and bushmaster, are classified in a separate family. Vipers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Viperidae.

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viper

viper a venomous snake, taken as the type of malignancy and treachery, but whose flesh was formerly believed to have great nutritive or restorative properties, and was used medicinally. Early allusive references include some to the statement in Pliny's Natural History that the female viper was killed by her young eating their way out at birth.

Recorded from the early 16th century, the word comes ultimately from Latin vivus ‘alive’ + parere ‘bring forth’.
viper in one's bosom a person who betrays those who have helped them; from the fable (found in Aesop) of the viper which was reared or warmed in a person's bosom, and which ended by biting its nurturer.

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viper

vi·per / ˈvīpər/ • n. a venomous snake (family Viperidae) with large hinged fangs, typically having a broad head and stout body, with dark patterns on a lighter background. ∎  a spiteful or treacherous person. DERIVATIVES: vi·per·ine / ˈvīpəˌrīn; -rin/ adj. vi·per·ish adj. vi·per·ous / ˈvīp(ə)rəs/ adj.

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viper

viper Any of 150 species of poisonous snakes characterized by a pair of long, hollow, venom-injecting fangs in the front of the upper jaw. The fangs can be folded back when not in use. The common adder (Vipera berus) of Europe and e Asia has a dark, zigzag band along its back. Length: to 3m (10ft). Family Viperidae.

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viper

viper XVI. — (O)F. vipère or L. vīpera serpent:- *vīvipera, f. vīvus alive + parere bring forth.
So viperine XVI. — L. vīperīnus. Hence viperous XVI.

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viper

viperAgrippa, chipper, clipper, dipper, equipper, flipper, gripper, hipper, kipper, nipper, Pippa, ripper, shipper, sipper, skipper, slipper, stripper, tipper, tripper, whipper, zipper •crimper, shrimper, simper, whimper, Whymper •crisper, whisper •mudskipper • caliper • Philippa •juniper • gossiper •worshipper (US worshiper) •griper, piper, sniper, swiper, viper, wiper •bagpiper • sandpiper •bopper, chopper, copper, cropper, Dopper, dropper, hopper, improper, Joppa, poppa, popper, proper, shopper, stopper, swapper, topper, whopper •stomper • prosper • bebopper •teenybopper • grasshopper •clodhopper • sharecropper •name-dropper • eavesdropper •window-shopper • doorstopper •show-stopper •gawper, pauper, torpor, warper

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