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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Basilisk


BAS'ILISK, noun s as z. [Latin basiliscus.]

1. A fabulous serpent, called a cockatrice, and said to be produced from a cock's egg brooded by a serpent. The ancients alledged that its hissing would drive away all other serpents, and that its breath and even its look was fatal. Some writers suppose that a real serpent exists under this name.

2. In military affairs, a large piece of ordnance, so called from its supposed resemblance to the serpent of that name, or from its size. This cannon carried a ball of 200 pounds weight, but is not now used. Modern writers give this name to cannon of a smaller size, which the Dutch make 15 feet long, and the French 10, carrying a 48 pound ball.