July 17, 2012
serpentine (adjective)
\SER-pun-teen\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : of or resembling a serpent2 : winding or turning one way and another
How do you use it?
"The wall had not been built in a simple circle, but was in fact serpentine." (Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead)
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the following do you think is most likely to be accurately described as "serpentine"?

Most forest paths go around the rocks and trees that are found throughout forests, and in order to do this they have to wind and turn one way and another—in other words, they have to be serpentine. English speakers have been using the word "serpentine" to describe paths like that for about 400 years because the paths remind us of the ways snakes move. You see, "serpent" is a fancy word for "snake." "Serpent" comes from a Latin word meaning "to creep." "Snake," on the other hand, is related to an old German word meaning "to crawl."
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