Definition of basilisk in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbasəˌlisk/ Pronunciation: /ˈbazəˌlisk/


1A mythical reptile with a lethal gaze or breath, hatched by a serpent from a cock’s egg.
Example sentences
  • The computer programs tell us all about snakes and lizards and birds and mammals, about atoms and planets and plants, but not dragons or basilisks or cyclopsi.
  • The demo includes greatly modelled troglodytes, skeleton warriors, dragonflies, basilisks, evil eyes, terror eyes, lizardmen and lizardmen warriors.
  • For I say, fear the fire of dragons and the eye of the basilisk.
1.1 Heraldry another term for cockatrice.
Example sentences
  • In heraldry the basilisk is represented as an animal with the head, torso and legs of a cock, the tongue of a snake and the wings of a bat.
  • The best representation of the basilisk is found in the decorative field of heraldry where the basilisk had the head and legs of a cock, a snake-like tail, and a body like a bird’s.
  • They also investigate the origins of various heraldic monsters, such as the basilisk (based on the hooded cobra).
Image of basilisk
2A long, slender, and mainly bright green lizard found in Central America, the male of which has a crest running from the head to the tail. It can swim well and is able to run on its hind legs across the surface of water.
  • Basiliscus plumifrons, family Iguanidae.
Example sentences
  • To find answers, Hsieh and Lauder turned to the basilisk lizard, a skittish tree-dwelling species found in Central America.
  • A basilisk lizard, or Jesus lizard, runs across water during an experiment.
  • This combined pressure allows the basilisk to run on water with a speed of 8 to 10 km an hour.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek basiliskos 'little king, serpent', from basileus 'king'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bas·i·lisk

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