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  1. a port in SW Tennessee, on the Mississippi.
  2. a ruined city in Lower Egypt, on the Nile, S of Cairo: the ancient capital of Egypt.


  1. a group of international designers and architects, formed in the 1980s and based in Milan, whose work is characterized by the use of bold colors, geometric shapes, and unconventional, often playful, designs.
  1. of or relating to this group or its style of design.

Origin of Memphis2

the name was allegedly suggested to Ettore Sottsass, one of the group's founders, by the Bob Dylan song “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” on the evening of December 11, 1980
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for memphis


  1. a port in SW Tennessee, on the Mississippi River: the largest city in the state; a major cotton and timber market; Memphis State University (1909). Pop: 645 978 (2003 est)
  2. a ruined city in N Egypt, the ancient centre of Lower Egypt, on the Nile: administrative and artistic centre, sacred to the worship of Ptah
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 memphis


ancient city of Egypt, from Greek form of Egyptian Mennefer, literally "his beauty," from men "his" + nefer "beauty" (as in Queen Nefertiti, literally "Beauty has Come"). A reference to pharaoh Pepi I (24c. B.C.E.). The city in Tennessee, U.S., was so named 1826 for obscure reasons. Related: Memphian (1590s); Memphitic (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

memphis in Culture



Largest city in Tennessee; located on the Mississippi River.

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.