1. venomous Old World snakes characterized by hollow venom-conducting fangs in the upper jaw
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
viper \vi"per\ (v[imac]"p[~e]r), n. [F. vip[`e]re, 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, a., Parent,
Viviparous, Wivern, Weever.]
1. (Zool.) Any one of numerous species of Old World venomous
snakes 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.
Note: Among the best-known species are the European adder
(Pelias berus), the European asp (Vipera aspis),
the African horned viper (Vipera cerastes), and the
Indian viper (Daboia Russellii).
2. A dangerous, treacherous, or malignant person.
To such a viper his most sacred trust
Of secrecy. --Milton.
3. Loosely, any venomous or presumed venomous snake.
Horned viper. (Zool.) See Cerastes.
Red viper (Zool.), the copperhead.
Viper fish (Zool.), a small, slender, phosphorescent
deep-sea fish (Chauliodus Sloanii). It has long ventral
and dorsal fins, a large mouth, and very long, sharp
Viper's bugloss (Bot.), a rough-leaved biennial herb
(Echium vulgare) having showy purplish blue flowers. It
is sometimes cultivated, but has become a pestilent weed
in fields from New York to Virginia. Also called blue
Viper's grass (Bot.), 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. Called also viper grass.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: venomous Old World snakes characterized by hollow venom-
conducting fangs in the upper jaw
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
22 Moby Thesaurus words for "viper":
animal, beast, cur, dog, hound, hyena, insect, mongrel, ophidian,
pig, pit viper, polecat, reptile, sea snake, serpent, skunk, snake,
swine, varmint, vermin, whelp, worm
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:
In Job 20:16, Isa. 30:6; 59:5, the Heb. word eph'eh is thus
rendered. The Hebrew word, however, probably denotes a species
of poisonous serpents known by the Arabic name of 'el ephah.
Tristram has identified it with the sand viper, a species of
small size common in sandy regions, and frequently found under
stones by the shores of the Dead Sea. It is rapid in its
movements, and highly poisonous. In the New Testament _echidne_
is used (Matt. 3:7; 12:34; 23:33) for any poisonous snake. The
viper mentioned in Acts 28:3 was probably the vipera aspis, or
the Mediterranean viper. (See ADDER.)