- a mythical snake-like creature reputed to be so venomous its gaze was deadly
"The deadly look of the basilisk"
- a type of lizard (genus Basiliscus)
- a type of large brass cannon
- a type of snake that was actually Lord Voldemort's giant pet snake (in Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets)
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
BASILISK, n. The cockatrice. A sort of serpent hatched form the egg
of a cock. The basilisk had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal.
Many infidels deny this creature's existence, but Semprello Aurator
saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as a punishment
for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved. Juno
afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave. Nothing
is so well attested by the ancients as the existence of the basilisk,
but the cocks have stopped laying.
- 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue
Bas"i*lisk (&?;), n. [L. basiliscus,
Gr. basiliskos little king, kind of serpent, dim. of
basileys king; -- so named from some prominences on the head
resembling a crown.] 1. A fabulous serpent, or dragon.
The ancients alleged that its hissing would drive away all other serpents,
and that its breath, and even its look, was fatal. See
Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
2. (Zoöl.) A lizard of the genus
Basiliscus, belonging to the family Iguanidæ.
&fist; This genus is remarkable for a membranous bag rising above the
occiput, which can be filled with air at pleasure; also for an elevated
crest along the back, that can be raised or depressed at will.
3. (Mil.) A large piece of ordnance, so
called from its supposed resemblance to the serpent of that name, or from
its size. [Obs.]
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Bas`ilisk, an animal fabled to have been hatched by a toad from the
egg of an old cock, before whose breath every living thing withered and
died, and the glance of whose eye so bewitched one to his ruin that the
bravest could confront and overcome it only by looking at the reflection
of it in a mirror, as Perseus (q. v.) was advised to do, and
did, when he cut off the head of the Medusa; seeing itself in a mirror,
it burst, it as said, at the sight.
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