Definition of sphinx in English:


Syllabification: sphinx
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.
    More 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.
    More 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'.

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