One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person whom one has supported but now behaves treacherously towards one.
- ‘You remember the old story of the tender-hearted man, who placed a frozen viper in his bosom, and was stung by it when it became thawed?’
- ‘A snake lurks in the haystack, a viper in her bosom.’
- ‘‘If you will nurse a viper in your bosom of course he will sting you,’ said Aunt Polly in a letter which she took the trouble to write to the squire.’
- ‘Were they not really warming a viper in their bosom?’
- ‘Why nourish a viper in one's bosom, cultivate an adversary, possibly an enemy?’
- ‘And you couldn't have that viper in your bosom.’
- ‘For example, in the opening verse: ‘John said to [us who] came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers!’’
- ‘Thank goodness one politician opposed their entry - or we could have this viper in our bosom!’
- ‘Apparently he has been unconsciously nursing a viper in his bosom, for the same Science now ‘turns and strikes him.’’
- ‘I have nourished a viper in my bosom.’
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