from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A mythical serpent having a head at each end of its body.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A mythical serpent having a head at each end of its body, able to move in either direction.
- n. A genus of lizards, native to the Americas, having extremities which are very similar.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A fabled serpent with a head at each end, moving either way.
- n. A genus of harmless lizards, serpentlike in form, without legs, and with both ends so much alike that they appear to have a head at each, and ability to move either way. See Illustration in Appendix.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A fabulous venomous serpent supposed to have a head at each end and to be able to move in either direction.
- n. [capitalized] [NL.] A genus of lizards distinguished by the obtuseness of the head and tail, typical of the family Amphisbænidæ.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (classical mythology) a serpent with a head at each end of its body
- n. type genus of the Amphisbaenidae
The amphisbaena is a two-headed lizard or serpent.
As bestiary.ca notes, the term "amphisbaena" is now applied to a group of reptiles, the so-called "worm lizards".
Pliny the Elder was clearly terrified of it, stating, "The amphisbaena has a twin head, that is one at the tail-end as well, as though it were not enough for poison to be poured out of one mouth."
It is probable, however, that the amphisbaena takes up its abode in the nest for the convenience of devouring the inhabitants, whenever unable to procure other food.
A curious snake, with something the character of the English slow-worm, the amphisbaena -- called by the natives Mai das Saubas, or the mother of the saubas -- is frequently found in these mounds.
They have here also the amphisbaena, or two-headed snake, of a grey colour, mixed with blackish stripes, whose bite is reckoned to be incurable.
-. (building) with columns at each end but not at sides. amphisbaena
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