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Definition of PHOENIX
: a legendary bird which according to one account lived 500 years, burned itself to ashes on a pyre, and rose alive from the ashes to live another period; also: a person or thing likened to the phoenix
In ancient Egypt and in classical antiquity, a fabulous bird associated with the worship of the sun. The Egyptian phoenix was said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry. Only one phoenix existed at a time, and it lived no less than 500 years. As its end approached, it built a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre was born a new phoenix, which sealed its predecessor's ashes in an egg of myrrh and flew to Heliopolis to deposit them on the altar of the sun god. The phoenix thus symbolized immortality. See alsofenghuang.