|1.||(in classical legend) a serpent that could kill by its breath or glance|
|2.||any small arboreal semiaquatic lizard of the genus Basiliscus of tropical America: family Iguanidae (iguanas). The males have an inflatable head crest, used in display|
|3.||a 16th-century medium cannon, usually made of brass|
|[C14: from Latin basiliscus, from Greek basiliskos royal child, from basileus king]|
"The basilisk has since the fourteenth century been confused with the Cockatrice, and the subject is now a complicated one." [T.H.White]Its breath and glance were said to be fatal. The South American lizard so called (1813) because it, like the mythical beast, has a crest. Also used of a large cannon, throwing shot of 200 lb., in 1549.
(in R.V., Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17), the "king serpent," as the name imports; a fabulous serpent said to be three spans long, with a spot on its head like a crown. Probably the yellow snake is intended. (See COCKATRICE.)