One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A mythical reptile with a lethal gaze or breath, hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg.
- ‘And as they watched in amazement, Lanyon's skin started taking on a greyish tint, and her hands, raised to ward off the basilisk, froze in place.’
- ‘The lone unicorn, basilisk and banshee wandered as they pleased.’
- ‘For I say, fear the fire of dragons and the eye of the basilisk.’
- ‘The computer programs tell us all about snakes and lizards and birds and mammals, about atoms and planets and plants, but not dragons or basilisks or cyclopsi.’
- ‘The demo includes greatly modelled troglodytes, skeleton warriors, dragonflies, basilisks, evil eyes, terror eyes, lizardmen and lizardmen warriors.’
- 1.1Heraldry another term for cockatrice
- ‘In heraldry the basilisk is represented as an animal with the head, torso and legs of a cock, the tongue of a snake and the wings of a bat.’
- ‘They also investigate the origins of various heraldic monsters, such as the basilisk (based on the hooded cobra).’
- ‘The best representation of the basilisk is found in the decorative field of heraldry where the basilisk had the head and legs of a cock, a snake-like tail, and a body like a birds.’
- ‘A lot of the artists who designed the knights coat of arms often used imaginary animals like the basilisk, dragon, unicorn, etc.’
2A long, slender, and mainly bright green lizard found in Central America, the male of which has a crest running from the head to the tail. It can swim well, and is able to run on its hind legs across the surface of water.
Basiliscus plumifrons, family Iguanidae
- ‘A basilisk lizard, or Jesus lizard, runs across water during an experiment.’
- ‘Basilisk lizards are unique in their ability to run across water from the time they hatch to adulthood.’
- ‘To find answers, Hsieh and Lauder turned to the basilisk lizard, a skittish tree-dwelling species found in Central America.’
- ‘This combined pressure allows the basilisk to run on water with a speed of 8 to 10 km an hour.’
- ‘Often considered to be one of the most spectacular lizard species, sometimes called the "Jesus lizard", the green basilisk is a striking addition to any reptile collection.’
Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek basiliskos ‘little king, serpent’, from basileus ‘king’.
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