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basilisk

[bas-uh-lisk, baz-] /ˈbæs ə lɪsk, ˈbæz-/
noun
1.
Classical Mythology. a creature, variously described as a serpent, lizard, or dragon, said to kill by its breath or look.
2.
any of several tropical American iguanid lizards of the genus Basiliscus, noted for their ability to run across the surface of water on their hind legs.
Origin of basilisk
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Latin basiliscus < Greek basilískos princeling, basilisk, equivalent to basil(eús) king + -iskos diminutive suffix; allegedly so named from a crownlike white spot on its head
Related forms
basiliscine
[bas-uh-lis-in, -ahyn, baz-] /ˌbæs əˈlɪs ɪn, -aɪn, ˌbæz-/ (Show IPA),
basiliscan, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for basilisk

basilisk

/ˈbæzɪˌlɪsk/
noun
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
Word Origin
C14: from Latin basiliscus, from Greek basiliskos royal child, from basileus king
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for basilisk
n.

c.1300, from Latin basiliscus, from Greek basiliskos "little king," diminutive of basileus "king" (see Basil); said by Pliny to have been so called because of a crest or spot on its head resembling a crown.

The basilisk has since the fourteenth century been confused with the Cockatrice, and the subject is now a complicated one. [T.H. White, "The Bestiary. A Book of Beasts," 1954]
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 type of large cannon, throwing shot of 200 lb., from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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basilisk in the Bible

(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.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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14
16
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