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See also: ŝerpo



From Russian серп (serp).


serpo (accusative singular serpon, plural serpoj, accusative plural serpojn)

  1. sickle
  2. crescent



serpo (plural serpi)

  1. billhook



From Proto-Italic *serpō, from Proto-Indo-European *sérpeti (to creep, crawl).[1] Cognate with Sanskrit सर्पति (sarpati, to glide, crawl), Ancient Greek ἕρπω (hérpō), and Latin rēpō.



serpō (present infinitive serpere, perfect active serpsī, supine serptum); third conjugation, no passive

  1. to creep, crawl, move slowly (of an animal)
  2. (figuratively) to move slowly or imperceptibly, to creep in or along, proceed gradually (of a thing or situation)
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid 2.268–269:
      “Tempus erat quō prīma quiēs mortālibus aegrīs
      incipit et dōnō dīvum grātissima serpit.”
      “It was the time when the first rest for careworn mortals begins, and as a gift of the gods it creeps in most pleasantly.”
      (The irony of “incipit” and “serpit”: As the weary Trojans rest, Greek soldiers “creep” from the wooden horse; the nighttime attack “begins”.)


   Conjugation of serpō (third conjugation, active only)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present serpō serpis serpit serpimus serpitis serpunt
imperfect serpēbam serpēbās serpēbat serpēbāmus serpēbātis serpēbant
future serpam serpēs serpet serpēmus serpētis serpent
perfect serpsī serpsistī serpsit serpsimus serpsistis serpsērunt,
pluperfect serpseram serpserās serpserat serpserāmus serpserātis serpserant
future perfect serpserō serpseris serpserit serpserimus serpseritis serpserint
sigmatic future1 serpsō serpsis serpsit serpsimus serpsitis serpsint
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present serpam serpās serpat serpāmus serpātis serpant
imperfect serperem serperēs serperet serperēmus serperētis serperent
perfect serpserim serpserīs serpserit serpserīmus serpserītis serpserint
pluperfect serpsissem serpsissēs serpsisset serpsissēmus serpsissētis serpsissent
sigmatic aorist1 serpsim serpsīs serpsīt serpsīmus serpsītis serpsint
imperative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present serpe serpite
future serpitō serpitō serpitōte serpuntō
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives serpere serpsisse serptūrum esse
participles serpēns serptūrus
verbal nouns gerund supine
genitive dative accusative ablative accusative ablative
serpendī serpendō serpendum serpendō serptum serptū

1At least one use of the archaic "sigmatic future" and "sigmatic aorist" tenses is attested, which are used by Old Latin writers; most notably Plautus and Terence. The sigmatic future is generally ascribed a future or future perfect meaning, while the sigmatic aorist expresses a possible desire ("might want to").

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • serpo”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • serpo”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • serpo in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • a report is spreading imperceptibly: fama serpit (per urbem)
  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) “serpō”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 558