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Adonis

[uh-don-is, uh-doh-nis]
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noun
  1. Classical Mythology. a youth slain by a wild boar but permitted by Zeus to pass four months every year in the lower world with Persephone, four with Aphrodite, and four wherever he chose.
  2. a very handsome young man.

Origin of Adonis

1615–25 for def 2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for adonises

Historical Examples

  • Adonises are very neat in habit, and the foliage is fine and interesting.

    The Practical Garden-Book

    C. E. Hunn

  • A long line of more or less successful Adonises have followed in his footsteps.

    In Vanity Fair

    Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd

  • At least some of the delphiniums, papavers and adonises germinate very imperfectly, if at all, in direct light.

    The Nursery Book

    Liberty Hyde Bailey

  • Peasants imagine themselves princes; Calibans believe themselves to be Adonises; beggars imagine themselves millionaires.

  • They are not Apollos, and Venuses, nor Adonises, that knock at painters' doors.


British Dictionary definitions for adonises

Adonis

noun
  1. Greek myth a handsome youth loved by Aphrodite. Killed by a wild boar, he was believed to spend part of the year in the underworld and part on earth, symbolizing the vegetative cycle
  2. a handsome young man

Word Origin

C16: from Latin, via Greek Adōnis from Phoenician adōni my lord, a title of the god Tammuz; related to Hebrew Adonai
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for adonises

Adonis

n.

"a beau," 1620s, from Greek Adonis, name of the youth beloved by Aphrodite, from Phoenician adon "lord," probably originally "ruler," from base a-d-n "to judge, rule." Adonai is the Hebrew cognate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

adonises in Culture

Adonis

In classical mythology, an extremely beautiful boy who was loved by Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

Note

By extension, an “Adonis” is any handsome young man.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.