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From Latin ophidia (from Ancient Greek ὄφις (óphis, snake)) +‎ -ian.


  • IPA(key): /oʊˈfɪdi.ən/
  • Hyphenation: ophid‧i‧an
    • (file)


ophidian (plural ophidians)

  1. Any species of the suborder Serpentes; a snake or serpent.
    • 1997, Olivier Rieppel, 2: The Lepidosauromorpha: an overview with special emphasis on the Squamata, Nicholas C. Fraser, Hans-Dieter Sues (editors), In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs: Early Mesozoic Tetrapods, page 31,
      Vertebral structure is critical for the identification of fossil snakes, because vertebrae are among the most easily fossilized parts of ophidians.
    • 2011, Didier Marchand, Chapter 11: The Logic of Forms in the Light of Developmental Biology and Palaeontology, Paul Bourgine, Morphogenesis, page 205,
      It has long been known that ophidians have lost not only their front legs but also every embryonic trace of these limbs and their associated shoulder girdle (to such a degree that we cannot determine how many cervical vertebrae they have).
    • 2012, Bruce M. Rothschild, Hans-Peter Schultze, Rodrigo Pellegrini, Herpetological Osteopathology: Annotated Bibliography of Amphibians and Reptiles, page 226,
      Siamese or double monsters are well known in saurians, chelonians, and ophidians, as are bicephalic, two-tailed and conjoined bodies (thoracodymus, ischiodymus, etc.).



ophidian (comparative more ophidian, superlative most ophidian)

  1. Of or pertaining to the suborder Serpentes; of, related to, or characteristic of a snake or serpent.
    • 2009, Thomas E. Sniegoski, The Fallen, Simon Pulse (2003), →ISBN, page 115:
      The ophidian beast began to glow eerily, and Aaron could discern a fine webwork of veins and capillaries running throughout the creature's body.
    • 2009, Encyclopedia of Islands (eds. Rosemary G. Gillespie & D. A. Clague), University of California Press (2009), →ISBN, page 843:
      A less obvious asset of snakes is their very light and supple jaws, which arose in the course of ophidian evolution to permit the ingestion of extraordinarily large meals (at maximum, more than 100% of their body mass).
    • 2011, Pre-Columbian America: Empires of the New World (ed. Kathleen Kuiper), Britannica Educational Publishing (2011), →ISBN, page 62:
      Another ophidian deity recognizable in Classic reliefs is the Feathered Serpent, known to the Maya as Kukulcán (and to the Toltecs and Aztecs as Quetzalcóatl).




  • (etymology) Ophidian, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.