“As for the ouroboros, the common alchemical image of the serpent suposedly eating its own tail as emblematic of constant death and regeneration: the term, which is usually interpreted as ‘tail-eater,’ is more easily translated as ‘urine-eater.’ The word for ‘urine’ in Greek is ouron, whereas the ‘tail’ is oura, leaving the connecting omicron in our-o-boros without explanation; supposedly it derives from a version of oura as orros, but that leaves unexplained the initial ou – and the lack of a double rr.”

— Carl Ruck, page 51, from The Hidden World, Carolina Academic Press, 2007

Some examples of typical definitions which never mention urine…

Oxforddictionaries.com — ouroborous: noun: A circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity. Origin: 1940s: from Greek (drakōn) ouroboros ‘(snake) devouring its tail’.

Dictionary.com — ouroboros: noun: a circular symbol of a snake or dragon devouring its tail, standing for infinity or wholeness; also written uroboros or {Ouroboros], Word Origin 1940 < Greek ‘tail devourer’

Wikipedia.com — The ouroboros or uroboros (/jʊərɵˈbɒrəs/; /ɔːˈrɒbɔrəs/, from the Greek οὐροβόρος ὄφις tail-devouring snake) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.

Mythologian.net — The term ouroboros is derived from two words in ancient Greek language. The first word is “oura” which means “the tail” while the second word being “boros” which means “eating”. Combined, these two words give the meaning “he /it that eats his/its tail” or “tail eater”.  A serpent eating its own tail has been depicted in different versions of the symbol throughout the history.

Urbandictionary.com — Ouroboros: A symbol that depicts a snake or dragon eating its own tail, usually associated with some religious groups or old age practices such as alchemy. It was said the symbol was dicovered on the Silk Road and was named by Greek travelers.



Thefreedictionary.com — The Ouroboros or Uroboros[a] is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.  The Ouroboros often symbolize self-reflexivity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. While first emerging in Ancient Egypt, the Ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has also been frequently used in alchemical illustrations, where it symbolizes the circular nature of the alchemist’s opus.