Origin: ME < nadder (by faulty separation of a nadder) < OE nædre < IE base *nətr, *nētr > L natrix, watersnake
See adder in American Heritage Dictionary 4
Origin: Middle English
Origin: , from an addre
Origin: , alteration of a naddre, a snake
Origin: , from Old English nǣdre, snake. Word History: The biblical injunction to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves looks somewhat alien in the Middle English guise “Loke ye be prudent as neddris and symple as dowves.” Neddris, which is perhaps the strangest-looking word in this Middle English passage, would be adders in Modern English, with a different meaning and form. Adder, an example of specialization in meaning, no longer refers to just any serpent or snake, as it once did, but now denotes only specific kinds of snakes. Adder also illustrates a process known as false splitting, or juncture loss: the word came from Old English nǣdre and kept its n into the Middle English period, but later during that stage of the language people started analyzing the phrase a naddre as an addre—the false splitting that has given us adder.
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