\ ˈsfiŋ(k)s How to pronounce sphinx (audio) \
plural sphinxes or sphinges\ ˈsfin-​ˌjēz How to pronounce sphinges (audio) \

Definition of sphinx

1a capitalized : a winged female monster in Greek mythology having a woman's head and a lion's body and noted for killing anyone unable to answer its riddle
b : an enigmatic or mysterious person she is a sphinx whose features hold a blank fascination
2 : an ancient Egyptian image in the form of a recumbent lion having a man's head, a ram's head, or a hawk's head

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Other Words from sphinx

sphinxlike \ ˈsfiŋ(k)s-​ˌlīk How to pronounce sphinxlike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of sphinx in a Sentence

a statue of the Sphinx

Recent Examples on the Web

The sphinx’s slow, painstaking journey began Wednesday morning. USA TODAY, "Pride pickup, sphinx on move, Tony Stark’s cabin: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2019 The largest sphinx in the Western Hemisphere is on the move for the first time in nearly 100 years. USA TODAY, "Pride pickup, sphinx on move, Tony Stark’s cabin: News from around our 50 states," 13 June 2019 Ben Zobrist has been a sphinx since starting his comeback attempt last week, declining to talk with reporters or posting anything on social media. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Ben Zobrist homers for the 2nd straight night but remains silent in the minors during his Cubs comeback attempt," 9 Aug. 2019 The bus, a 1963 11-window Deluxe, was covered in symbols and languages, with a dollop of astrology, a sphinx, heavenly bodies, and the Hindu diety Vishnu, conveying messages of hope and enlightenment. David Morgan, CBS News, "A Woodstock icon recreated: The VW "Light Bus"," 4 Aug. 2019 In another project, archaeologists discovered a stunning sphinx statue at an ancient temple in southern Egypt. Fox News, "Ancient Egyptian fortress built by Ramses II reveals its secrets," 15 June 2019 So how did the sphinx end up in a Philadelphia museum in the first place? Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Penn Museum Just Floated a 12-Ton Sphinx Out a Window," 13 June 2019 June 13 is moving day, the first time the sphinx has left the Egyptian galleries in nearly a century. Stephan Salisbury, https://www.inquirer.com, "N.C. Wyeth, Penn Museum’s moving sphinx, Gee’s Bend quilters, and more museum highlights," 5 June 2019 Dunham still has three pets at home: a sphinx cat named Irma and poodles Karen and Susan. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Lena Dunham Mourns the Death of Her Cat Gia Marie: 'She Was My Love, My Dearest Companion'," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sphinx.' 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 sphinx

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sphinx

Latin, from Greek Sphinx, Sphix

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Statistics for sphinx

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for sphinx

The first known use of sphinx was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of sphinx

in ancient Greek and Egyptian stories : a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a person also : something (such as a statue) in the shape of a sphinx


\ ˈsfiŋks How to pronounce sphinx (audio) \

Kids Definition of sphinx

: a mythical figure of ancient Egypt having the body of a lion and the head of a man, a ram, or a hawk

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More from Merriam-Webster on sphinx

Spanish Central: Translation of sphinx

Nglish: Translation of sphinx for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sphinx

Comments on sphinx

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