Definition of sphinx in English:

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Pronunciation: /sfiNGks/


1 (Sphinx) Greek Mythology A winged monster of Thebes, having a woman’s head and a lion’s body. It propounded a riddle about the three ages of man, killing those who failed to solve it, until Oedipus was successful, whereupon the Sphinx committed suicide.
1.1 (the Sphinx) An ancient Egyptian stone figure having a lion’s body and a human or animal head, especially the huge statue near the Pyramids at Giza.
Example sentences
  • They were going to see the sphinx and come back with souvenirs.
  • The building with the sphinx and obelisks in the center housed Akoun's Beautiful Orient with its bazaar offering wares from the Middle East.
  • When the sphinx was crumbling they finally repaired it in plaster, which needs replacing every five years, in order to maintain the point of decay, and clarify the difference.
1.2 (usually sphinx) An enigmatic or inscrutable person.
Example sentences
  • The shy, introverted Gandhi, once described as a sphinx and an enigma, has come a long way in the past six years.
2 (also sphinx moth) North American another term for hawk moth.


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek Sphinx, apparently from sphingein 'draw tight'.

Words that rhyme with sphinx

jinks, jinx, lynx, methinks, minx

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sphinx

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