Ado·​nis | \ ə-ˈdä-nəs How to pronounce Adonis (audio) , -ˈdō- How to pronounce Adonis (audio) \

Definition of Adonis

1 : 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
2 : a very handsome young man

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Adonis, like Narcissus, was a beautiful youth in Greek mythology. He was loved by both Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, and Persephone, goddess of the underworld. One day while hunting, he was killed by a wild boar. In answer to Aphrodite's pleas, Zeus allowed him to spend half the year with her and half in the underworld. Today a man called an Adonis probably has strikingly fine features, low body fat, rippling muscles—and a certain vain attitude of overconfidence. Adonises should beware; the boar that killed Adonis was sent by either the jealous Artemis (goddess of hunting) or the envious Ares (god of war).

First Known Use of Adonis

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Adonis

Latin, from Greek Adōnis

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The first known use of Adonis was in 1565

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Cite this Entry

“Adonis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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ado·​nis | \ ə-ˈdän-əs How to pronounce adonis (audio) , -ˈdō-nəs How to pronounce adonis (audio) \

Medical Definition of adonis

1 capitalized : a small genus of herbs of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) having alternate finely dissected leaves and solitary red or yellow flowers
2 : the herbage of a plant of the genus Adonis (A. vernalis) formerly used like digitalis to treat dropsy

More from Merriam-Webster on Adonis

Britannica English: Translation of Adonis for Arabic Speakers

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