cockatrice


cockatrice
   This legendary creature, first described by classical authors, remained acceptable to the educated till the 17th century. Belief in it was reinforced by the fact that 'cockatrice' is used several times in the King James Bible to translate one of the Hebrew words for 'serpent'. It was supposed to have the head and legs of a cock, but the body and tail of a small dragon; it was venomous, and could kill people with its deadly glance. It was said to come from an egg laid by a *cock (or from a duck's egg) hatched out by a *toad.
   According to legend, the monster could only be killed by tricking it into seeing itself. At Saffron Walden (Essex), a knight is said to have donned crystal armour to destroy a cockatrice; at Wherwell (Hampshire), where a man lowered a mirror of polished steel into the creature's den, it fought its reflection till exhausted (Simpson, 1980: 40-1).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Cockatrice — Cock a*trice ( tr[imac]s; 277), n. [OF. cocatrice crocodile, F. cocatrix, cocatrice. The word is a corruption from the same source as E. crocodile, but was confused with cock the bird, F. coq, whence arose the fable that the animal was produced… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cockatrice — late 14c., from O.Fr. cocatriz, altered by influence of coq from L.L. *calcatrix, from L. calcare to tread (from calx (1) heel ), as translation of Gk. ikhneumon, lit. tracker, tracer. In classical writings, an Egyptian animal of some sort, the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cockatrice — [käk′ə tris΄] n. [cocatrice < OFr cocatris, crocodile < LL calcatrix, she who treads < calcare, to tread < calx, heel: see CALCAR] 1. a fabulous serpent supposedly hatched from a cock s egg and having power to kill by a look 2. Bible… …   English World dictionary

  • Cockatrice — For other uses, see Cockatrice (disambiguation). A cockatrice overdoor at Belvedere Castle (1869) in New York s Central Park A cockatrice is a legendary creature, essentially a two legged dragon with a rooster s head. An ornament in the drama and …   Wikipedia

  • cockatrice — [14] The name of the cockatrice, a mythical serpent whose glance could kill, has a bizarre history. It started life as medieval Latin calcātrix, which meant literally ‘tracker, hunter’ (it was formed from the verb calcāre ‘tread, track’, a… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • cockatrice — [14] The name of the cockatrice, a mythical serpent whose glance could kill, has a bizarre history. It started life as medieval Latin calcātrix, which meant literally ‘tracker, hunter’ (it was formed from the verb calcāre ‘tread, track’, a… …   Word origins

  • cockatrice —    The name of a fabulous monster, said to be hatched from a cock’s egg, having a fowl’s wings, the tail of a dragon, and a cock’s head. It was supposedly able to kill at a glance. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries cockatrice was used… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • cockatrice — noun Etymology: Middle English cocatrice, from Middle French cocatris ichneumon, cockatrice, from Medieval Latin cocatric , cocatrix ichneumon Date: 14th century a legendary serpent that is hatched by a reptile from a cock s egg and that has a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cockatrice — /kok euh tris/, n. 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. Cf. basilisk (def. 1). 2 …   Universalium

  • cockatrice — noun A legendary creature about the size and shape of a dragon or wyvern, but in appearance resembling a giant rooster, with some lizard like characteristics. “Peace reigns in happy Luxor. The lion lies down with the lamb, and the child, if it… …   Wiktionary