sphinx

Listen:
 'sphinx': [ˈsfɪŋks]; 'Sphinx': [sfɪŋks]


For the noun: sphinx
Plural form: sphinxes

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
sphinx /sfɪŋks/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  sphinx•es, sphin•ges 
    /ˈsfɪndʒiz/USA pronunciation  .
  1. Ancient Historyan ancient Egyptian figure with the body of a lion and the head of a human, esp. a very large stone figure of this type near the pyramids of Giza.
  2. a creature in Greek myth with wings, a woman's head, and a lion's body:The sphinx killed anyone passing by who was unable to answer the riddle she posed.
  3. a mysterious person or thing.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
sphinx (sfingks),USA pronunciation  n., pl.  sphinx•es, sphin•ges 
    (sfingks),USA pronunciation 
  1. Fine Art(in ancient Egypt)
    • Ancient Historya figure of an imaginary creature having the head of a man or an animal and the body of a lion.
    • (usually cap.) the colossal recumbent stone figure of this kind near the pyramids of Giza.
  2. Mythology(cap.) [Class. Myth.]a monster, usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. Seated on a rock outside of Thebes, she proposed a riddle to travelers, killing them when they answered incorrectly, as all did before Oedipus. When he answered her riddle correctly the Sphinx killed herself.
  3. Mythologyany similar monster.
  4. a mysterious, inscrutable person or thing, esp. one given to enigmatic questions or answers.
  • Greek sphínx, equivalent. to sphing-, base of sphíngein to hold tight (compare sphincter) + -s nominative singular ending
  • Latin
  • late Middle English 1375–1425


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

sphinx /sfɪŋks/ n ( pl sphinxes, sphinges /ˈsfɪndʒiːz/)
  1. any of a number of huge stone statues built by the ancient Egyptians, having the body of a lion and the head of a man
  2. an inscrutable person



Sphinx /sfɪŋks/ n the Sphinx
  1. a monster with a woman's head and a lion's body. She lay outside Thebes, asking travellers a riddle and killing them when they failed to answer it. Oedipus answered the riddle and the Sphinx then killed herself
  2. the huge statue of a sphinx near the pyramids at El Gîza in Egypt, of which the head is a carved portrait of the fourth-dynasty Pharaoh, Chephrēn
Etymology: 16th Century: via Latin from Greek, apparently from sphingein to hold fast



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