phoe·​nix | \ˈfē-niks \

Definition of phoenix 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


geographical name
Phoe·​nix | \ˈfē-niks \

Definition of Phoenix (Entry 2 of 2)

city on the Salt River in Arizona population 1,445,632

Note: Phoenix is Arizona's capital and its most populous city.

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Other Words from phoenix


phoenixlike \ˈfē-​niks-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Geographical name

Phoenician \fē-​ˈni-​shən \ noun

Examples of phoenix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Today, more than 30 years after the fire, the Central Library shimmers like a distinctly urban phoenix. Jane Kamensky, WSJ, "‘The Library Book’ Review: The People’s Palace," 11 Oct. 2018 The name is a mash-up of phoenix, a mythical bird that regenerates and arises from the ashes of its predecessor, and nixus, a Latin word related to struggle or strain. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "The 5,000% price hike that made Martin Shkreli infamous is no longer paying off," 19 July 2018 What seems like ages ago, Houston native Jennifer Garner talked to Vanity Fair in 2016 about Ben Affleck's back tattoo of a multicolored phoenix--at the time, they had had recently separated. Demetrio Teniente, Houston Chronicle, "Twitter had some fun with Ben Affleck's response to that New Yorker piece," 29 Mar. 2018 Still, as maker culture has surged in popularity among young adults who feel alienated from meaningful work, RadioShack is trying to become the phoenix of DIY consumer electronics—rising from its own ashes to encourage another generation to tinker. Michael J. Mooney, Popular Mechanics, "Is RadioShack Back?," 1 Apr. 2016 The green phoenix roll was a poetic beauty of delightfully crunchy tempura shrimp, wrapped in soy paper with salmon and avocado. Tim Smith,, "Miku Sushi and Steakhouse a pleasant haven in Cockeysville," 12 July 2018 Like a phoenix, what were once Taco Macs in Marietta and Woodstock are being born anew. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Taco Mac is returning to Marietta, Woodstock soon," 17 May 2018 Maybe this is, ultimately, a show about chasing resurrection, about finding a phoenix within who too often fails to raise her head. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "GLOW season 2 is less than the sum of its parts. But those parts are amazing.," 29 June 2018 In Chinese mythology, the motif is often depicted with a phoenix and a dragon; potent symbols of reincarnation and immortality. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "This Textile Has Been All Over Vogue—Here’s Where It Came From," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phoenix.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of phoenix


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phoenix


Middle English fenix, from Old English, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix

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Statistics for phoenix

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for phoenix

The first known use of phoenix was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for phoenix



English Language Learners Definition of phoenix

: a magical bird in ancient stories that lives for 500 years before it burns itself to death and then is born again from its ashes


phoe·​nix | \ˈfē-niks \

Kids Definition of phoenix

: a legendary bird which was thought to live for 500 years, burn itself to death, and rise newborn from the ashes

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More from Merriam-Webster on phoenix

Spanish Central: Translation of phoenix

Nglish: Translation of phoenix for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of phoenix for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about phoenix

Comments on phoenix

What made you want to look up phoenix? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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