Online Encyclopedia

ADDER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 184 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ADDER, a name for the common viper ( Vipera cevus), ranging from Wales to Saghalien island, and from Caithness to the north of Spain. The puff-adder (Bitis s. Echidna arietans) of nearly the whole of Africa, and the death-adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) from Australia to the Moluccas, are both very poisonous (see VIPER). The word was in Old Eng. needre, later nadder or naddre; in the 14th century " a nadder " was, like" a napron," wrongly divided into " an adder." It appears with the generic meaning of " serpent " in the older forms of many Teutonic languages, cf. Old High Ger. natra; Goth. nadrs. It is thus used in the Old Eng. version of the Scriptures for the devil, the " serpent " of Genesis.
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JOSEPH ADDISON (1672-1719)

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