basilisk was our Word of the Day on 02/26/2009. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of basilisk from the Web
What’s more, early legends of the basilisk may have been inspired by cobras.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'basilisk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of basilisk
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
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.
First Known Use of basilisk
BASILISK Defined for English Language Learners
Seen and Heard
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