phoe·​nix | \ ˈfē-niks How to pronounce phoenix (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Phoenix (audio) \

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 How to pronounce phoenixlike (audio) \ adjective

Geographical name

Phoenician \ fē-​ˈni-​shən How to pronounce Phoenician (audio) \ noun

Examples of phoenix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The friend-fueled party, which featured Swift smiling among her squad, corroborated her curation of an image as a single, rising phoenix., "What It Means If Taylor Swift Skips Another Fourth Of July Party," 3 July 2018 In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird that is constantly reborn, rising from the ashes of its predecessor. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Rhye Reflects on His 'Rebirth,' Talks Directing 'Phoenix' Video With His Girlfriend/Creative Partner," 5 June 2018 People magazine ran a photo of Affleck at the beach with a tattoo of what looks like a colorful phoenix rising from his lower back. Maddie Kilgannon,, "Ben Affleck’s tattoo is apparently real," 18 Mar. 2018 In an Alexander McQueen gown with an embroidered phoenix across its bodice, Bonet was radiant. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet Give a Crash Course in BoHo Couple’s Style," 13 Dec. 2018 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

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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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 How to pronounce phoenix (audio) \

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 speak slightingly about or to degrade

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