Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

cockatrice

[kok-uh-tris]
See more synonyms for cockatrice on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. 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).
  2. a venomous serpent. Isa. 11:8.
Show More

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cockatrice

Historical Examples

  • 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.

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for cockatrice

cockatrice

noun
  1. a legendary monster, part snake and part cock, that could kill with a glance
  2. another name for basilisk (def. 1)
Show More

Word Origin

C14: from Old French cocatris, from Medieval Latin cocatrix, from Late Latin calcātrix trampler, tracker (translating Greek ikhneumon ichneumon), 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

Word Origin and History for cockatrice

n.

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper