Definition of snake in English:



  • 1A long limbless reptile which 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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unlike most other snakes, boa constrictors possess small vestigial hind legs.’
    • ‘Prey-derived cues stimulate the tail movements of death adders and these snakes may more often attempt to lure lizards of a particular body size.’
    • ‘Like that of other snakes, death adder venom is a form of saliva.’
    • ‘King Cobras are the world's largest venomous snakes, growing to an average length of nearly 6m.’
    • ‘Although venomous snakes can sometimes deliver a ‘dry’ bite without releasing their poison, all bites require immediate hospital treatment.’
    • ‘Their staple diet comprises rodents and snakes including the highly venomous Cape cobra and puff adder.’
    • ‘Shaken yet relatively unharmed, the snake rose, tail rattling again, preparing for one last strike.’
    • ‘Like most other snakes, a flying snake is roughly circular in cross section.’
    • ‘Even though I've been bitten by a snake, I still like snakes.’
    • ‘Jesús Rivas is a man who has followed his passion, and his passion is the green anaconda, the largest snake in the world.’
    • ‘Poachers illegally trade in snakes such as the Indian python, slaughtering the snake for their skin.’
    • ‘Non-Hopi experts have tried to discover how the priests can handle snakes without being bitten, but the secret has not been revealed.’
    • ‘Even though he knows better, he has no qualms or reservations about putting his face two inches away from some of the most venomous snakes on the planet.’
    • ‘Color variations in captive colubrid snakes are well known.’
    • ‘Australian venomous snakes, belonging exclusively to the Elapidae family, are among the most toxic in the world.’
    • ‘One of the world's largest snakes, the python is a popular pet snake.’
    • ‘I winced, expecting him to crush the snakes, or the cobras to bite him, or both of those things to happen at once.’
    1. 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He's as manipulative as he is charming, a snake in the grass.’
    • ‘But what I really hate are snakes in the grass, waiting to slither in the back door for that important job when all the work is done.’
    traitor, turncoat, betrayer, informer, back-stabber, double-crosser, double-dealer, quisling, Judas
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  • 3the snakeA former system of interconnected exchange rates for the currencies of EC countries.

    ‘the snake did not have any provision for strong currency nations to help the weak’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The UK was thus forced to leave the cooperation, and later also France, Italy, and Sweden withdrew from the snake in the tunnel arrangement.’
  • 4

    (also plumber's snake)
    A long flexible wire for clearing obstacles in piping.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Step 2: If it is a major clog a toilet snake or closet auger with a padded end is best to use.’
    • ‘Next withdraw the snake and flush the pipe by inserting a garden hose with the water turned on full.’


no object, with adverbial of direction
  • Move or extend with the twisting motion of a snake.

    ‘a rope snaked down’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the thought of cables snaking across the living room is too much to live with, this virtual-surround system offers salvation.’
    • ‘A yellow extension cord snakes from the sculpture to the wall.’
    twist, wind, twist and turn, meander, zigzag
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Old English snaca, of Germanic origin.