ADDER (ad'der), the English name of a kind of serpent, is a dialectical variation of the same word in a variety of languages of the Gothic and Teutonic family. Another name, varying, in the old European tongues, from ag, ach to hag, has more connection with the Semitic ; and in the south of Europe, where the Latin and its deriva tives prevail, both are represented by the word vipera (viper). The first radically indicates poison ; the second, pain, distress, strife ; the third, parturition of offspring, not in the state of an egg, but of the perfect animal. Though not clearly distinguished, in common acceptation, from innoxious snakes, all strictly indicate ser. gents armed with poisonous fangs, and therefore all are truly viviparous. In the English version of the Bible the name 'adder' occurs several times. (See SERPENT.) (1) Cobra. The most prominent species of the genus at present is the raja tripudians, cobra di capello, hooded or spectacled snake of India, venerated by the natives; even by the serpent charmers styled the good serpent to this day, and yet so ferocious that it is one of the very few that will attack a man when surprised in its haunt, although it may he gorged with prey. This species is usually marked on the nape with two round spots, transversely connected in the form of a pair of spectacles; but among several varieties, one, perhaps distinct, is without the marks, and has a glossy golden hood, which may make it identical with the naja lick of Egypt, the undoubted Ihh-nuphi, oneph, or agatho• dxmon of ancient Egypt, and accurately reprgi sented on the walls of its temples, in almost in• numerable instances. both in form and color. This serpent al o inflates the skin on the neck, not in the expanded form of a hood, but rather into an intumefaction of the neck. As in the former, there is no marked difference of appearance be tween the sexes, but the psilli, or charmers, by a particular pressure on the neck, have the power of rendering the inflation of the ani mal, already noticed as a character of the genus, so intense. that the serpent becomes rigid, and can be held out horizontally as if it were a rod.
(2) Soothsayers. This practice explains what the soothsayers of Pharaoh could perform when they were opposing and reveals one of the ramcs by winch the Hebrews knew the species; fir although the text (Exod. iv:3) u.es, for the rod of Aaron converted into a serpent, the word nachash, and subsequently (vii ;15) fhannin, it is plain that, in the seem(' passage, the ward in dicates 'monster,' as applied to the nachash just named—the first being an appellative, the second an epithet. That the rods of the magicians of Pharaoh were of the same external character is evident from no different denomination being given to them ; therefore, we may infer that they used a real serpent as a rod—namely, the species now called hajc—for their imposture, since they no doubt did what the present serpent-charmers perform with the saute species, by means of the temporary asphyxiation, or suspension of vitality, before noticed, and producing restoration to ac tive life by liberating or throwing down. Thus we have the miraculous character of the prophet's mission shown by his real rod becoming a ser pent. and the magicians' real serpents merely ps suming the form of rod-.. and when both we•c oppo:ed in a state of animated existence, by the rod devouring the living animals, conquering the great typical personification of the protecting di vinity of Egypt. Nachash may. therefore, with some confidence, he assumed to have been the Hebrew name, or at least one of the names, of the naja haje, el haje and haft- nacher of the Arabs.
(3) Sacred Serpent. Nachash was intensely the serpent of :crpents with the Hebrews, and when figured with the crowns or caps of Upper and Lower Egypt, was the crowned serpent and basilisk. It is evident that nach-ash led authors, and Pliny among the number, to affix the term ast is to the haje, which, however, he did not recognize as the sacred serpent of Egypt. The true asp is a small viper, notwithstanding the opinion of Geoffroy to the contrary.