Entries linking to snakestone
Old English snaca, from Proto-Germanic *snakon (source also of Old Norse snakr "snake," Swedish snok, German Schnake "ring snake"), from PIE root *sneg- "to crawl, creeping thing" (source also of Old Irish snaighim "to creep," Lithuanian snakė "snail," Old High German snahhan "to creep"). In Modern English, gradually replacing serpent in popular use.
Traditionally applied to the British serpent, as distinguished from the poisonous adder. Meaning "treacherous person" first recorded 1580s (compare Old Church Slavonic gadu "reptile," gadinu "foul, hateful"). Applied from 17c. to various snake-like devices and appliances. Snakes! as an exclamation is from 1839.
Snake eyes in crap-shooting sense is from 1919. Snake-bitten "unlucky" is sports slang from 1957, from a literal sense, perhaps suggesting one doomed by being poisoned. The game of Snakes and Ladders is attested from 1907. Snake charmer is from 1813. Snake pit is from 1883, as a supposed primitive test of truth or courage; figurative sense is from 1941. Phrase snake in the grass is from Virgil's Latet anguis in herba [Ecl. III:93].
Sense of "testicle" is from late Old English. The British measure of weight (usually equal to 14 pounds) is from late 14c., originally a specific stone. Stone-fruit, one with a pit, is from 1520s. Stone's throw for "a short distance" is attested from 1580s. Stone Age is from 1864. To kill two birds with one stone is first attested 1650s. To leave no stone unturned is from 1540s.
"fossil cephalopod mollusk," 1758, from French (Breyn, 1732), "better established" [Century Dictionary] by French zoologist Jean Guillaume Bruguière in 1789, from Medieval Latin (cornu) Ammonis "horn of Ammon," the Egyptian god of life and reproduction (see Ammon), who was depicted with ram's horns, which the fossils resemble. The resemblance also was noted in ancient times. They also were thought to be petrified snakes, hence snakestone.
updated on October 18, 2013