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A large snake; a dragon or other mythical snake-like reptile. The word is recorded from Middle English, and comes via Old French from Latin serpent- ‘creeping’.

In proverbial and allusive reference, a serpent is taken as the type of cunning, treachery, and malignancy. The figure of a serpent with its tail in its mouth is a symbol of eternity.

In the Bible, the Serpent is a special designation of Satan, as in Genesis 3:1.

brazen serpent the figure of a brass serpent on a pole; with reference to the story in Numbers ch. 21, in which, when the people of Israel were punished by ‘fiery serpents’, Moses was told by God to mount a serpent of brass on a pole. If anyone who had been bitten by a snake looked at this, they would be healed.

See also Midgard's serpent, plumed serpent at plume, rainbow serpent.

Subjects: Religion

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