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1

basilisk

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noun bas·i·lisk \ˈba-sə-ˌlisk, ˈba-zə-\

Simple Definition of basilisk

  • in stories and legends : a reptile that can kill people by breathing on them or looking at them

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of basilisk

  1. 1 :  a legendary reptile with fatal breath and glance

  2. 2 :  any of several crested tropical American lizards (genus Basiliscus of the family Iguanidae) related to the iguanas and noted for their ability to run on their hind legs

Origin and Etymology of basilisk

Middle English, from Latin basiliscus, from Greek basiliskos, from diminutive of basileus


First Known Use: 14th century


2

basilisk

adjective bas·i·lisk

Definition of basilisk

  1. :  suggesting a basilisk :  baleful, spellbinding <the eyes … with all their blaze of basilisk horror — Bram Stoker>



Did You Know?

In Hellenic and Roman legend, a basilisk (also called a cockatrice) was a serpent-like creature capable of destroying other creatures by way of its deadly stare. The modern basilisk is a lizard that belongs to the family Iguanidae and supposedly resembles this fabled monster; it has a large, inflatable crest atop its head and is sometimes called a "Jesus Christ lizard" for its ability to run quickly across the surface of water. The use of "basilisk" as an adjective occurs most frequently in phrases such as "basilisk stare"; recalling the notorious gaze of the legendary basilisk, it describes the deep and piercing look of someone who is frightening or seductive.

1821

First Known Use of basilisk

1821


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