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The Devil's Dictionary:    

Definition of Basilisk

  BASILISK   noun
The cockatrice.  A sort of serpent hatched form the egg of a cock.  The basilisk had a bad eye, and its glance was fatal. Many infidels deny this creature's existence, but Semprello Aurator saw and handled one that had been blinded by lightning as a punishment for having fatally gazed on a lady of rank whom Jupiter loved.  Juno afterward restored the reptile's sight and hid it in a cave.  Nothing is so well attested by the ancients as the existence of the basilisk, but the cocks have stopped laying.

Devil's Dictionarydefinition from:
The Devil's Dictionary
by Ambrose Bierce, 1911

Regular definition:
?bęz?l?sk n. 1 a mythical reptile with a lethal breath and look. 2 any small American lizard of the genus Basiliscus, with a crest from its back to its tail. 3 Heraldry a cockatrice. [ME f. L basiliscus f. Gk basiliskos kinglet, serpent]

Last updated: 9/3/2011 12:48:30