[ fee-nom, fi-nom ]
/ ˈfi nɒm, fɪˈnɒm /
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noun Slang.
a phenomenon, especially a young prodigy: a twelve-year-old tennis phenom.
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Origin of phenom

By shortening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does phenom mean?

A phenom is a person with an extraordinary talent or ability. The word is especially used to refer to a relatively young person who is considered a prodigy.

Phenom is a shortened version of the word phenomenon, which can be used to mean the same thing.

The word phenom is often preceded by the particular field that the phenom excels in or the skill that they have, as in chess phenom or basketball phenom.

Example: All eyes are on the gymnastics phenom as she makes her first international appearance.

Where does phenom come from?

Phenom has been used as a shortening of phenomenon (meaning “an exceptionally talented person) since at least the 1880s. Phenomenon comes from the Greek phainómenon, from the verb phaínesthai, meaning “to appear, become visible,” from phaínein, “to show, bring to light, make known.”

Phenoms often gain fame due to their exceptional talents or abilities. This is especially the case for young people who are gifted beyond their years. The older that such a phenom gets, the less likely they are to be called a phenom, simply because it is less unexpected for an older person to possess exceptional skill.

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How is phenom used in real life?

Phenom is somewhat informal. It’s most commonly used to refer to young people and is often preceded with a particular skill or field.



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Is phenom used correctly in the following sentence? 

The 10-year-old violin phenom displays an astounding ability.

How to use phenom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for phenom

/ (fɪˈnɒm) /

informal a person or thing of outstanding abilities or qualities

Word Origin for phenom

C20: from phenom (enon)
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