serpe-, serpen-, serpent-, serpenti-

(Latin: creeping, to creep; a creeping thing; snake, snakes; serpent, serpents)

Serpens (proper noun)
A constellation in the equatorial area of the northern sky: The Serpens consists of two parts, Serpens Cauda, the "serpent's tail", and Serpens Caput, the "serpent's head", both of which are near Hercules and Ophiuchus.

When crossing the Pacific Ocean, Captain Smith of the ship pointed out Serpens in the sky which was clearly visible with a telescope.

serpent (s) (noun), serpents (pl)
A scaly elongated reptile without any limbs (legs, feet, etc.); some of which are venomous or poisonous: Some serpents, or snakes, are covered with horny-types of epidermal scales.

The skull of snake-serpents has movable quadrate bones and the two halves of the lower jaw are united by an elastic ligament enabling the mouth to be opened very wide.

serpentarium (s) (noun); serpentaria, serpentariums (pl)
1. A place where snakes are housed or kept: A serpentarium includes vipers for exhibitions, display, or for study.
2. When capitalized, the dried roots and rhizome of any of various species used as a bitter tonic: The fibrous aromatic root of the Virginia snakeroot or "Aristolochia Serpentaria" is known as Serpentaria or a serpentary-root.
Serpentarius (proper noun)
In astronomy, a former name for a zodiacal constellation of the northern summer said to depict a man holding a holding a snake: The snake is the constellation of Serpentarius which was located on the equator, lying between Scorpio and Hercules.
serpenticide (s) (noun), serpenticides (pl)
The killing of scaly elongated reptiles: Jake's cousin had a special hatred for snakes and he would commit serpenticide on them whenever he could find one.
serpentiferous (adjective), more serpentiferous, most serpentiferous
A reference to a place that is abounding in snakes: Gerhardt, the biologist, was studying the serpentiferous area where a large variety of serpents existed.
serpentiform (s) (noun), serpentiforms (pl)
Legless, often carnivorous reptiles that can be distinguished from legless lizards by the lack of eyelids and external ears: Many species of serpentiforms have skulls with more joints than their lizard ancestors, which enable them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly movable jaws.

Most species serpentiforms are nonvenomous and those that do have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey more than for self-defense. Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans.

Nonvenomous serpentiforms either swallow their prey alive or kill them by constriction in which it initially strikes at its prey and holds on to it, pulling the victim into its coils or, in the case of very large prey, pulling itself onto the creature; then the serpentiform will wrap one or two coils around the captured animal.

serpentine (adjective), more serpentine, most serpentine
Characterized by the curving and twisting of a ophidian (snake): The tourists were following the serpentine route of the river.

People were amazed at the serpentine movements of the dancers on the dance floor.

The politician's explanations were even more serpentine than usual; that is, more complicated and difficult to follow.

As an English word, the adjective serpentine more often has a reference to the movements of snakes than to the snakes themselves.

serpentinophilous (adjective), more serpentinophilous, most serpentinophilous
A special fondness for reptiles which are scaly and elongated: Karl had a serpentinophilous feeling for all kinds of snakes and other related animals and so he was happy to have a job with the local zoo so he could take care of the serpent section.
serpentivorous (adjective), more serpentivorous, most serpentivorous
A reference to the eating of ophidians, lizards, etc.: There are many serpentivorous creatures that prey on serpents; including, birds and animals.
serpentry (s) (noun), serpentries (pl)
1. The collective body of snake-like creatures as a whole: Dr. Sam Asp wrote a definitive study of serpentry which live in North America.
2. A snake-house, a place where they are kept or a place inhabited by vipers: The school children were fascinated by the serpentry when they visited the reptile exhibit at the zoo.
3. A winding or sinuous motion or any act or motion of a snake-like creature; such as, slithering, climbing, eating, drinking, killing, sleeping, or constricting (squeezing): As a child, Joyce was horrified to watch the serpentry of a python that was squeezing a rabbit when she visited the zoo.
serpiginous (adjective), more serpiginous, most serpiginous
1. A medical term referring to the slow advancement of some kind of creeping skin injury or disease; such as, leprosy, skin lesions (breaks in the skin), or any condition that involves some form of abnormal skin tissue: Jaden had a skin ailment which his dermatologist, Dr. Crawley, diagnosed as "angioma serpiginosum" or a rare dysplasia (abnormal development) of small blood vessels marked by a serpiginous progression to other parts of his body.

Adam had a serpiginous or creeping ulcer which was slowly extending from one area of his skin while healing in another region.

2. Etymology: from Latin serpigo, setrpiginis; from Latin serpere, "to creep, a creeping" + -ous, "full of, abounding in".
Serpula (s) (noun), Serpulae (pl)
A kind of tube worm: The Serpula has a tube, which is usually irregularly contorted, but it is sometimes spirally or coiled in a serpentine form.

After Jim peeled back the bark of the dying tree, he could see the calcareous (calcium) tubes in which the Serpulae lived.

snake (s) (noun), snakes (pl)
1. Legless reptiles with long, thin bodies, no eyelids, and fork-shaped tongues that are extensible: It is estimated that there are about 2,250 species of snakes from fourteen families with body lengths up to ten meters (32.81 feet), with no forelimbs or hind limbs, living in terrestrial, arboreal, or aquatic regions; and which are usually carnivorous or insectivorous.

The reproduction of snakes are oviparous (egg-laying and hatching outside the body) or ovoviviparous (producing living young from eggs that hatch within the body).

Why are snakes sometimes called "serpents"? Because they creep or sneak around; as indicated by the Latin origin serpere, serpens, "to creep".

2. A treacherous person who is cold-blooded: Alan's cousin was considered to be a snake in the grass and untrustworthy.

There are those who are considered to be snakes because they exploit their positions of trust in order to betray other people.

Throughout the centuries, people have had various responses to snakes.

Aesculapian snake and staff.

Aesculapian snake and staff for medicine.

Aesculapian snakes and staff used by some medical organizations.

Aesculapian snake serving as a nurse.

Aesculapian snake serving and the goddess Hygiea.

The above images represent medical organizations based on the GreekĀ god Aesculapias who healed people.

More information about the medical relationships to snakes is located in the two sections about Aesculapias.

Attraction to a snake by a girl and a horrible fear by her mother.

Then there are those who really like snakes OR have a severe fear of them; as illustrated in the above image.

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