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[kok-uh-tris] /ˈkɒk ə trɪs/
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
1350-1400; Middle English cocatrice < Middle French cocatris < Medieval Latin caucātrīces (plural), Latin *calcātrīx (see -trix), feminine of *calcātor tracker, equivalent to calcā(re) to tread, verbal derivative of calx heel + -tor -tor; rendering Greek ichneúmon ichneumon Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cockatrice
Historical Examples
  • cockatrice was a popular phrase for a loose woman, probably from the fascination of the eye.

    Folk-lore of Shakespeare Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
  • Supporters,—not captives nor victims; the cockatrice and Adder.

  • Even in this case, however, the word is rendered as cockatrice in the marginal translation.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • Edmund gasped once or twice, and then ran into the cave to tell the cockatrice.

    The Book of Dragons Edith Nesbit
  • The lion lies down with the lamb, and the child, if it will, may harmlessly put its hand into the cockatrice's den.

    The Spell of Egypt Robert Hichens
  • As for the cockatrice, he was not going to stand that sort of thing for a moment.

    The Book of Dragons Edith Nesbit
  • Nevertheless the biting of the cockatrice is death to the weasel if the weasel eat not rue before.

  • "Your mother will be here presently," said the cockatrice, stirring up its fire.

    The Book of Dragons Edith Nesbit
  • He put his hand in the cockatrice's den to see whether it would bite, and he found out to his own undoing.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
  • Edmund had run back to the cockatrice, and it had told him what to do.

    The Book of Dragons Edith Nesbit
British Dictionary definitions for cockatrice


/ˈkɒkətrɪs; -ˌtraɪs/
a legendary monster, part snake and part cock, that could kill with a glance
another name for basilisk (sense 1)
Word Origin
C14: from Old French cocatris, from Medieval Latin cocatrix, from Late Latin calcātrix trampler, tracker (translating Greek ikhneumonichneumon), from Latin calcāre to tread, from calx heel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cockatrice in the Bible

the mediaeval name (a corruption of "crocodile") of a fabulous serpent supposed to be produced from a cock's egg. It is generally supposed to denote the cerastes, or "horned viper," a very poisonous serpent about a foot long. Others think it to be the yellow viper (Daboia xanthina), one of the most dangerous vipers, from its size and its nocturnal habits (Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17; in all which the Revised Version renders the Hebrew _tziph'oni_ by "basilisk"). In Prov. 23:32 the Hebrew _tzeph'a_ is rendered both in the Authorized Version and the Revised Version by "adder;" margin of Revised Version "basilisk," and of Authorized Version "cockatrice."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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