1. (Science: zoology) Any one of numerous species of old world venomous makes belonging to Vipera, Clotho, daboia, and other genera of the family viperidae. There came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. (acts xxviii. 3)
Among the best-known species are the European adder (Pelias berus), the European asp (Vipera aspis), the african horned viper (V. Cerastes), and the indian viper (daboia Russellii).
2. A dangerous, treacherous, or malignant person. Who committed To such a viper his most sacred trust Of secrecy. (milton) horned viper.
(Science: zoology) A small, slender, phosphorescent deep–sea fish (Chauliodus Sloanii). It has long ventral and dorsal fins, a large mouth, and very long, sharp teeth.
(Science: botany) Viper’s bugloss, a perennial composite herb (Scorzonera Hispanica) with narrow, entire leaves, and solitary heads of yellow flowers. The long, white, carrot-shaped roots are used for food in Spain and some other countries.
Synonym: viper grass.
Origin: F. Vipere, L. Vipera, probably contr. Fr. Vivipera; vivus alive – parere to bring forth, because it was believed to be the only serpent that brings forth living young. Cf. Quick, Parent, Viviparous, Wivern, Weever.