Part of speech: noun
Origin: Greek, 13th century
A mythical reptile with a lethal gaze or breath, hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg.
A 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.
Examples of Basilisk in a sentence
"As the local folklore told, the cave of treasures was protected by a 10-foot basilisk."
"I thought it was a gecko, but the guide informed me that it was a basilisk."
Popularity Over Time
Found in many accounts of European folklore, the basilisk is a mythological creature, the king of snakes. The origins and methods of defeating this fearsome reptile vary by storyteller, but they all describe a lethal gaze. The name was borrowed for a real-life lizard with a crest running from head to tail, just like the legend.
Did you Know?
In the Harry Potter series, the basilisk is an enormous snake controlled by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Similar to the Muggle folklore, the basilisk has a lethal gaze. This basilisk killed Moaning Myrtle, and petrified more through an indirect gaze. Unless you're a Parselmouth (speak snake), avoid the basilisk at all costs.