Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several venomous Old World snakes of the family Viperidae, having a single pair of long, hollow fangs and a thick, heavy body. Also called adder2.
  • n. A pit viper.
  • n. A venomous or supposedly venomous snake.
  • n. A person regarded as malicious or treacherous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A poisonous snake in the family Viperidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of Old World venomous snakes belonging to Vipera, Clotho, Daboia, and other genera of the family Viperidæ.
  • n. A dangerous, treacherous, or malignant person.
  • n. Loosely, any venomous or presumed venomous snake.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A venomous snake of the family Viperidæ: originally and especially applied to the only serpent of this kind occurring in the greater part of Europe, Vipera communis Or Pelias beruts.
  • n. Any venomous serpent except a rattlesnake; a viperine; a cobriform and not crotali form serpent, as a cobra, asp, or adder; also, loosely, any serpent that is venomous, or supposed to be so; a dangerous, repulsive, or ugly snake.
  • n. In heraldry, a serpent used as a bearing, some writers avoid the word serpent and use viper instead, there being no difference in the representations.
  • n. One who or that which is mischievous or malignant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. venomous Old World snakes characterized by hollow venom-conducting fangs in the upper jaw

Etymologies

Middle English vipere, from Old French, from Latin vīpera, snake, contraction of *vīvipera : vīvus, alive; see gwei- in Indo-European roots + parere, to give birth; see perə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin vīpera. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • A prototype biplane fighter of the early 1920s. More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008

  • "One night last year in the king crab season, a 100-foot rogue wave with a 30-foot whitewater 'viper' slammed into Time Bandit. That frightened me beyond the measure of I-thought-we-were-done-for."
    —Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand with Malcolm MacPherson, Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs, 153

    see also growler.

    June 22, 2008