CERBERUS, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the
entrance -- against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody,
sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the
entrance. Cerberus is known to have had three heads, and some of the
poets have credited him with as many as a hundred. Professor
Graybill, whose clerky erudition and profound knowledge of Greek give
his opinion great weight, has averaged all the estimates, and makes
the number twenty-seven -- a judgment that would be entirely
conclusive is Professor Graybill had known (a) something about dogs,
and (b) something about arithmetic.
- 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue
Cer"be*rus (?), n. [L. Cerberus (in
sense 1), gr. &?;.]
1. (Class. Myth.) A monster, in
the shape of a three-headed dog, guarding the entrance into the
infernal regions, Hence: Any vigilant custodian or guardian, esp.
2. (Zoöl.) A genus of East
Indian serpents, allied to the pythons; the bokadam.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Cerberus, the three-headed or three-throated monster that guarded
the entrance to the nether world of Pluto, could be soothed by music, and
tempted by honey, only Hercules overcame him by sheer strength, dragging
him by neck and crop to the upper world.
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