If bovine means related to the cow or ox, what is the word that means related to the snake?
Serpentine is the snake equivalent of bovine.
of or resembling a serpent (as in form or movement)
Serpent - synonym of snake
Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes
All modern snakes are grouped within the suborder Serpentes in Linnean taxonomy,
Whereas Ophidia is a supergroup of lizards and snakes.
Ophidia is a group of squamate reptiles including modern snakes and all snake-like "lizards" closer to snakes than to other living groups of lizards.
I would however likely use reptilian or snake-like for descriptions of behaviour, viz her bovine eyes looked calmly at me
Phrontistery has a list of suitable words:
ophic of, like or pertaining to serpents
ophidian of or like a snake
ophiomorphic shaped like a snake
OED has ophiomorphic Having or resembling the form of a serpent; snakelike, and gives its etymology as deriving from ancient Greek ὄϕις serpent
A word derived from the Latin for snake, anguis, is anguiform.
Having the shape of a serpent or snake; snake-shaped.
A word which resembles bovine is anguine.
Of or resembling a snake or serpent.
My humble Pocket Oxford Dictionary says simply: snaky. If you want to describe someone in a negative way, perhaps treacherous would do the trick.
Reptilian wasn't mentioned. Serpentine is good but doesn't have the negative connotation.
You shouldn’t expect the average unstudied English monoglot to know the word, but the OED gives as the primary sense of the adjective colubrine:
- Of, belonging to, or characteristic of a snake or serpent; snake-like.
One citation for that sense is:
- 1883 P. Robinson in Harper’s Mag. Oct. 708/1
The colubrine impossibility of springing off the ground at me.
A herpetologist might argue that this term more properly applies only to the Colubridae family of snakes. Perhaps so, but only in herpetology, where a colubrine is also used substantively. This leads to the OED’s second sense for that word:
- Zool. Of the nature of the Coluber or snake: applied to serpents, sometimes distinguished as true colubrine and venomous colubrine snakes.
In non-specialist use, colubrine is a more general term than that, one simply meaning “snaky” (itself a fine word), as the provided citation above illustrates. The word is of ancient pedigree, coming to us from Latin colubrinus for snake, and having cognates in neighboring languages, like Spanish culebra.
There are also specialized terms for other snake families, like viperine for viperish, pythonic for pythonlike, and elapine for sea-snakes.
I think the best adjective is "snakelike" as used by Jack London
'The huge, snakelike body coiled and uncoiled about its prey.'
"He received no applause, and he squirmed through the ropes, snakelike, into the arms of his seconds"
The formal Greek word for snake-like is ophioides, a compound of ophis and eidos (form). In English this becomes ophioid, similarly to words like asteroid, sigmoid (sigma-like or S-like) etc.
If you don't mind something a little recondite, you could try herpolhode. According to Goldstein in Classical Mechanics, this word originally meant snake-like, from which it was pressed into service with its current meaning:-
A herpolhode is the curve traced out by the endpoint of the angular velocity vector ω of a rigid rotor, a rotating rigid body.
which is indeed wiggly in most cases.
I find the word "slithering" can be used as an adjective although it is rare but it certainly is descriptive of "snake-like".
protected by tchrist♦ Feb 22 '15 at 4:11
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