Thursday, February 05, 2009


BASILISK, n. The cockatrice. A sort of serpent hatched from 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.

2009 update: A swift-footed iguana maladapted for metaphor.


Hobbes said...

Slytherin's pet.

Tom & Icy said...

A poet's nightmare?

Nessa said...

Is Harry here? He'd know what to do.

Nessa said...

"...but the cocks have stopped laying." Great phrase with which to end definition. Very double entendric.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure that the roosters have stopped laying?

Anonymous said...

BASILISK n. this wonderfully misunderstood creature is the source of the power of moms and teachers the world over to securely impale an erring child with not but their glaring eyes. A little powdered basilisk tail in one's morning drink is all it takes.

Anonymous said...

basilisk - The pedestal that an obolisk sits on.

Yeah, that wasn't veryy good, was it?

Anonymous said...

cockatoo, cockatrice, what's next?

Was Medusa related?

Anonymous said...

laughter today,peace tomorrow

tsduff said...

BASILISK: Next to the harpy, my favorite evil character in the stories of the ancient days.

Jamie Dawn said...

I recognize that word from the Harry Potter books.
Evil, pure evil!
Maybe the basilisk is like the leviathan in the Bible, both of whom do not exist today.
Well, as far as we KNOW the don't exist today.
I wouldn't mind seeing a leviathan just so I'd know what the heck it actually was... an alligator? a dragon?
a dralligator?

Anonymous said...

applies to both sides of the aisle...FZ quote:Why do you necessarily have to be wrong,JUST because a few million people think you are......hey frank,because you have long hair does that make you a woman-well you have a wooden leg,does that make you a table.....may laughter and peace fill the soul!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ariel the Thief said...

"may laughter and peace fill the soul!" was my thought when saw that picture. Doesn't he look happy?

TLP said...


Used in soups and stews, you know, like tail of Basilisk.

Anonymous said...

a sort of serpent I never heard of. I'm sorry it has a hard time with metaphors

tsduff said...

TLP LOL - Only if you are cooking up some good witches brew over a cauldron - you know, Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog.

Nice picture Ariel.

Doug - that isn't one of your prettiest photos...

Unknown said...

i know some people like that

fibaz: female liar

Jim said...

basilisk: I go ballistic over basilisk.

passing mustard: Passing mustard surely beats passing g*ss.

Doug The Una said...

Hobbes, I know little of such things.

Icy, yeah, and a lexicographer's last resort.

Nessa, pretty sly, huh?

Amoeba, maybe they were just on strike in Bierce's time.

Quilly, where'd you learn that formula?

Poobah, we're getting down to those words where we're lucky to come up with anything.

Cockadoodledo, I suppose, Sauerkraut.

Parasite lost, Bear?

Terry, I can see how you'd like the Harpy. Bird-like and all.

More of a whaligator, I think, JD.

Funny, Bear. Where'd you hear that one?

I agree, Ariel. That is one cheerful lizard which means somewhere nearby is a widowed fly.

TLP, do you use basilisk in your presto?

Funny, Pia. Yeah, poor thing.

It's not my photo, Terry, but you should see my self-portrait.

An unfinished sculpture of one, Actonbell.

Karma, they pretty much grow on trees.

Depends on the size of the room, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Doug -- I'm not sharing that or the secret ingredient!