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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Serpent


SER'PENT, noun [Latin serpens, creeping; serpo, to creep.]

1. An animal of the order of Serpentes, [creepers, crawlers, ] Of the class of Amphibia. Serpents are amphibious animals, breathing through the mouth bymeans of lungs only; having tapering bodies, without a distinct neck; the jaws not articulated, but dilatable, and withour feet, fins or ears. Serpents move along the earth by a winding motion, and with the head elevated. Some species of them are viviparous, or rather ovi-viviparous; others are oviparous; and several species are venomous.

2. In astronomy, a constellation of the northern hemisphere, containing, according to the British catalogue, sixty-four stars.

3. An instrument of music, serving as a base to the cornet or small shawm, to sustain a chorus of singers in a large edifice. It is so called for its folds or wreaths.

4. Figuratively, a subtil or malicious person.

5. In mythology, a symbol of the sun.

Serpent stones or snake stones, are fossil shells of different sizes, found in strata of stones and clays.