Dragons are some of the oldest of mythological creatures, they appear in the cultures of almost all ancient societies. In the earliest times, they were shown with the Great Mother or the water god or the warrior sun god. They had the power to be either bad or good and were considered to be the most powerful creatures in the world.
Tales from many cultures, have created these great beasts giving them many different attributes. The images that we see from history, are made up of different parts of many animals. Most seem to have a lot of alligator and snakelike characteristics. Most have a lion's head plus maybe lion's front legs and eagle's feet. Some have wings and can breath fire.
Definitions Encarta98: A legendary reptilian monster similar in form to a crocodile and usually represented as having wings, huge claws, and a fiery breath.
Webster's Dictionary: drag-en n dracon-,draco serpent, [fr.GK drakon;akin to OE torht bright,Gk derkesthai to see,look at]
1. archaic: a huge serpent
2: a fabulous animal usually represented as a monstrous winged and scaly serpent or saurian with a crested head and enormous claws.
Tormont Illustrated Encyclopedia: drag'en n.
1. a. A fabulous monster, represented usually as a gigantic reptile breathing fire and having a lion's claws, the tail of a serpent, wings and scaly skin.
b. A figure or other representation of this creature.
2. Archaic. A large snake or serpent [Middle English drago(u)n, from Old French drago, from Latin draco (stem dracon-), from Greek drakon, serpent]