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  1. phoenix.


or phe·nix

  1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to live 500 or 600 years in the Arabian wilderness, to burn itself on a funeral pyre, and to rise from its ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of years: often an emblem of immortality or of reborn idealism or hope.
  2. genitive Phoe·ni·cis [fee-nahy-sis, -nee-] /fiˈnaɪ sɪs, -ˈni-/. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. a southern constellation between Hydrus and Sculptor.
  3. a person or thing of peerless beauty or excellence; paragon.
  4. a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation.

Origin of phoenix

before 900; < Latin < Greek phoînix a mythical bird, purple-red color, Phoenician, date palm; replacing Middle English, Old English fēnix < Medieval Latin; Latin as above
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for phenix


  1. a US spelling of phoenix


noun Latin genitive Phoenices (ˈfiːnɪˌsiːz)
  1. a constellation in the S hemisphere lying between Grus and Eridanus


  1. a city in central Arizona, capital city of the state, on the Salt River. Pop: 1 388 416 (2003 est)


US phenix

  1. a legendary Arabian bird said to set fire to itself and rise anew from the ashes every 500 years
  2. a person or thing of surpassing beauty or quality

Word Origin

Old English fenix, via Latin from Greek phoinix; identical in form with Greek Phoinix Phoenician, purple
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 phenix



Old English and Old French fenix, from Medieval Latin phenix, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix, mythical bird of Arabia which flew to Egypt every 500 years to be reborn, also "the date" (fruit and tree), also "Phoenician," literally "purple-red," perhaps a foreign word (Egyptian has been suggested), or from phoinos "blood-red." Exact relation and order of the senses in Greek is unclear.

Ðone wudu weardaþ wundrum fæger
fugel feþrum se is fenix hatan

["Phoenix," c.900]

Spelling assimilated to Greek 16c. (see ph). Figurative sense of "that which rises from the ashes of what was destroyed" is attested from 1590s. The city in Arizona, U.S., so called because it was founded in 1867 on the site of an ancient Native American settlement.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phenix in Culture



A mythical bird that periodically burned itself to death and emerged from the ashes as a new phoenix. According to most stories, the rebirth of the phoenix happened every five hundred years. Only one phoenix lived at a time.


To “rise like a phoenix from the ashes” is to overcome a seemingly insurmountable setback.



Capital city of Arizona.

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.