[fi-nish-uh n, -nee-shuh n]
  1. of or relating to Phoenicia, its people, or their language.
  2. noting or pertaining to the script used for the writing of Phoenician from the 11th century b.c. or earlier and from which were derived the Greek, Roman, and all other Western alphabets.

Origin of Phoenician

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at Phoenicia, -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phoenician

Historical Examples of phoenician

British Dictionary definitions for phoenician


  1. a member of an ancient Semitic people of NW Syria who dominated the trade of the ancient world in the first millennium bc and founded colonies throughout the Mediterranean
  2. the extinct language of this people, belonging to the Canaanitic branch of the Semitic subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family
  1. of or relating to Phoenicia, the Phoenicians, or their language
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 phoenician



late 14c., from Middle French phenicien, from Latin Phoenice, from Greek Phoinike "Phoenicia" (including Carthage), perhaps literally "land of the purple" (i.e., source of purple dye, the earliest use of which was ascribed to the Phoenicians by the Greeks). Identical with phoenix (q.v.), but the relationship is obscure. In reference to a language from 1836; as an adjective from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper