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Definition of ADONIS
: a youth loved by Aphrodite who is killed at hunting by a wild boar and restored to Aphrodite from Hades for a part of each year
: a very handsome young man
Origin of ADONIS
Latin, from Greek Adōnis
First Known Use: 1565
In Greek mythology, a youth of remarkable beauty, the favorite of Aphrodite. As a child he was put in the care of Persephone, who refused to allow him to return from the underworld. Zeus ruled that he should spend a third of the year with Persephone, a third with Aphrodite, and a third on his own. He became a hunter and was killed by a boar. In answer to Aphrodite's pleas, Zeus allowed him to spend half the year with her and half in the underworld. Mythically, Adonis represents the cycle of death and resurrection in winter and spring. He is identified with the Babylonian god Tammuz.