boomslang, noun

Forms:
Also baum slang, boem-slang, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
boomslange /ˈbʊəmslaŋə/, boomslangs, or unchanged.
Origin:
South African DutchShow more South African Dutch, boom tree + slang snake.
The venomous arboreal snake Dispholidus typus of the Colubridae; tree-snake. Also attributive.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 23A serpent, called Boomslang, was said to get into the trees, and swallow the birds it found there.
[1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 171The boem snake, or tree snake, from five to ten feet long and very thick,..supports itself from the branches of trees, and waits for its prey passing under.]
1837 J.E. Alexander Narr. of Voy. I. 343One of the dogs pointed in a strange manner. Young Botha called out ‘Boom slang!’ (a tree snake,) and was preparing to shoot it.
1852 A.W. Cole Cape & Kafirs 243There is also..the boem-slang (or tree-snake), less deadly, one of which I once shot seven feet long.
1878 T.J. Lucas Camp Life & Sport 241Among the most brilliantly coloured, the Baum slang (the tree snake),..resplendent with bright tints of green and gold.
1886 G.A. Farini Through Kalahari Desert 61Be careful of snakes, for there are often some of the boom slange here, and they are very poisonous.
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 35Others such as the boomslang, frequent bushes and trees in search of birds.
1929 F.C. Slater Sel. Poems (1947) 116Cobras with stars and adders in bright rings, Boomslangs that fly from tree to tree sans wings.
1971 The 1820 Vol.43 No.10, 20Skaapstekers and boomslange are venomous, but they are back-fanged snakes and not aggressive, so we do not worry about them.
1982 E. Prov. Herald 6 Nov. 2There was no serum for boomslang bites in Port Elizabeth, so it had to be specially flown in from Johannesburg.
1991 E. Prov. Herald 7 Feb. 1The luckless boomslang were a male..and two females...The boomslang..was normally found in trees but in the mating season would be found on the ground.
1991 [see mamba sense 1].
The venomous arboreal snake Dispholidus typus of the Colubridae; tree-snake. Also attributive.

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17961991