Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Basilisk.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The king of serpents (Greek, basileus, a king), supposed to have the power of “looking any one dead on whom it fixed its eyes.” Hence Dryden makes Clytus say to Alexander, “Nay, frown not so; you cannot look me dead.” This creature is called a king from having on its head a mitre-shaped crest. Also called a cockatrice, and fabulously alleged to be hatched by a serpent from a cock’s egg.   1
“Like a boar
Plunging his tusk in mastiff’s gore;
Or basilisk, when roused, whose breath,
Teeth, sting, and eyeballs all are death.”
King: Art of Love.



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