phoe·​nix ˈfē-niks How to pronounce phoenix (audio)
: 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
phoenixlike adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Images of phoenixes, eagles, and snakes imply familiarity with cultures as far away as Greece and Egypt. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 16 May 2023 From atop the great square hall, a phoenix looks down. Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post, 16 May 2023 This audiovisual experience — complete with longstanding Illenium-centric imagery of phoenixes and ash trees — narratively positions ILLENIUM as the prequel to his four prior albums, while indulging his love for fantasy and world-building. Rachel Narozniak, Billboard, 3 May 2023 April Fools’ Day, a tradition that goes back to Noah (probably not), must rise from the ashes as a glorious, hilarious phoenix. Jesse David Fox, Vulture, 31 Mar. 2021 Like the phoenix, the city is on the rise. Lisa Morrow, CNN, 4 Oct. 2022 The glasses feature an illustration of a phoenix. Jennifer Edwards Baker, The Enquirer, 27 Oct. 2020 Across the board, every crew member, there was a sense of reverence, holding that episode gently in our hands like a baby phoenix that must be protected at all costs. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 15 Mar. 2023 In true phoenix-from-the-ashes style, N.G.A. was born out of a personal and, frankly, rather public crisis. Ahmed Zambarakji, Robb Report, 7 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phoenix.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near phoenix

Cite this Entry

“Phoenix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


phoe·​nix ˈfē-niks How to pronounce phoenix (audio)
: a legendary bird which was thought to live for 500 years, burn itself to death, and then rise newborn from the ashes

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Phoe·​nix ˈfē-niks How to pronounce Phoenix (audio)
city on the Salt River in Arizona population 1,445,632

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

Phoenician noun

More from Merriam-Webster on phoenix

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