American Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. 1

Author: Noah Webster


ASP’IC, n. [L. aspis; Gr. a round shield and an asp; supposed to be from Heb. to gather in, or collect; from the coil of this serpent, with his head elevated in the center, like the boss of a buckler.]

A small poisonous serpent of Egypt and Libya, whose bite occasions inevitable death, but without pain. It is said that the celebrated Cleopatra, rather than be carried a captive to Rome by Augustus, suffered death by the bite of the asp; but the fact has been questioned. Authors are not agreed, as to what species the asp of the ancients should be referred. Bruce thinks it the coluber cerastes. Linne.