- adder (n.)
- Old English næddre "a snake, serpent, viper," from Proto-Germanic *nædro "a snake" (source also of Old Norse naðra, Middle Dutch nadre, Old High German natra, German Natter, Gothic nadrs), from PIE root *netr- (source also of Latin natrix "water snake," probably by folk-association with nare "to swim;" Old Irish nathir, Welsh neidr "adder").
The modern form represents a faulty separation 14c.-16c. into an adder, for which see also apron, auger, nickname, humble pie, umpire. Nedder is still a northern English dialect form. Folklore connection with deafness is via Psalms lviii.1-5. The adder is said to stop up its ears to avoid hearing the snake charmer called in to drive it away. Adderbolt (late 15c.) was a former name for "dragonfly."