Any of various eruptive or metamorphic rocks which have spots or markings like a snake and are usually green; serpentine.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Dallington (b. 1561), author and courtier. From classical Latin ophītēs ophites.
A member of an early Gnostic sect which worshipped the serpent.
According to the Ophites, the serpent in the story of the fall (Genesis 3) symbolized a higher god, who illuminates and liberates mankind.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Edward Topsell (d. 1625), Church of England clergyman and author. From post-classical Latin Ophitae (late 2nd or early 3rd century in Tertullian) from Hellenistic Greek Ὀϕῖται, plural of Ὀϕίτης from ancient Greek ὄϕις serpent + -ίτης.