One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(Members of) mythological tribes said to be related to serpents and able to cure snakebites.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From Middle French, French ophiogenes, plural and its etymon classical Latin Ophiogenēs (also Ophiogenīs), plural noun from Hellenistic Greek Ὀϕιογενεῖς, plural noun, use as noun of plural of ὀϕιογενής snake-born from ὀϕιο- + -γενής.
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