- a legendary monster with a deadly glance, supposedly hatched by a serpent from the egg of a cock, and commonly represented with the head, legs, and wings of a cock and the body and tail of a serpent.Compare basilisk(def 1).
- a venomous serpent. Isa. 11:8.
Origin of cockatrice
Examples from the Web for cockatrice
The monks said that Erasmus laid the egg, and Luther hatched a cockatrice.Short Studies on Great Subjects
James Anthony Froude
Supporters,—not captives nor victims; the Cockatrice and Adder.Our Fathers Have Told Us
Shakspeare, for example, uses Lucrece and cockatrice as genitives.
It never occurred to him that the cockatrice might not believe him.
Edmund gasped once or twice, and then ran into the cave to tell the cockatrice.
- a legendary monster, part snake and part cock, that could kill with a glance
- another name for basilisk (def. 1)
Word Origin and History for cockatrice
late 14c., from Old French cocatriz, altered (by influence of coq) from Late Latin *calcatrix, from Latin calcare "to tread" (from calx (1) "heel"), as translation of Greek ikhneumon, literally "tracker, tracer."
In classical writings, an Egyptian animal of some sort, the mortal enemy of the crocodile, which it tracks down and kills. This vague sense became hopelessly confused in the Christian West, and in England the word ended up applied to the equivalent of the basilisk. A serpent hatched from a cock's egg, it was fabled to kill by its glance and could be slain only by tricking it into seeing its own reflection. Belief in them persisted even among the educated because the word was used in the KJV several times to translate a Hebrew word for "serpent." In heraldry, a beast half cock, half serpent.