- any of a widespread family (Viperidae) of venomous snakes, including the pit vipers, the European adder, and the African puff adder; solenoglyph
- any of various other poisonous or supposedly poisonous snakes
- a malicious or spiteful person
- a treacherous person
Origin of viperOld French ; from Classical Latin vipera, contr. ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps an unverified form vivipara, producing live young ; from vivus, living (see bio-) + parere, to bear: see -parous: from the notion that the viper does not lay eggs
- Any of various venomous snakes of the family Viperidae, having a thick heavy body and a single pair of long hollow fangs, especially the Eurasian and African species of the subfamily Viperinae, which lack the sensory pits of the pit vipers.
- Any of several harmless snakes sometimes believed to be venomous.
- A person regarded as malicious or treacherous.
Origin of viperMiddle English vipere, from Old French, from Latin v&imacron;pera, snake, contraction of *v&imacron;vipera : v&imacron;vus, alive; see gwei- in Indo-European roots + parere, to give birth; see per&schwa;-1 in Indo-European roots.
From Latin vīpera.