(3 syl.). A symbol of deity among the Egyptians, because it is the only aquatic animal, says Plutarch, which has its eyes covered with a thin transparent membrane, by reason of which it sees and is not seen; so God sees all, Himself not being seen. To this he subsequently adds another reason, saying, “The Egyptians worship God symbolically in the crocodile, that being the only animal without a tongue, like the Divine Logos, which standeth not in need of speech.” (De Iside et Osiride, vol. ii. p. 381.)
Achilles Tatius says, “The number of its teeth equals the number of days in a year.” Another tradition is, that during the seven days held sacred to Apis, the crocodile will harm no one.
(King). A king who devours his people, or at least their substance. Browne, in his Travels, tells us that there is a king crocodile, as there is a queen bee. The king crocodile has no tail.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894