When you nictate, you blink. Snakes don’t have eyelids, so they can’t nictate.

The technical term for what you do when your eyelids close is nictate, or alternately, nictitate. Whether you’re blinking in the sunshine or winking at your friend after giving the substitute math teacher a hard time, you nictate. Almost every single animal has the ability to nictate, and even those without true eyelids have a protective membrane that occasionally covers their eyeballs. The Latin root is nictare, “to blink.”

Definitions of nictate
  1. verb

    briefly shut the eyes

    blink, nictitate, wink
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    wink or blink, especially repeatedly
    bat, flutter

    wink briefly
    type of:

    act involuntarily, act reflexively

    act in an uncontrolled manner

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