noun, plural sphinx·es, sphin·ges [sfin-jeez] /ˈsfɪn dʒiz/.
- a figure of an imaginary creature having the head of a man or an animal and the body of a lion.
- (usually initial capital letter)the colossal recumbent stone figure of this kind near the pyramids of Giza.
- sphingomyelin lipidosis,
- sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase,
- sphinx moth,
Origin of sphinx
Examples from the Web for sphinx
Dulles, Moses recalls, sat as silent as a sphinx, and the meeting ended inconclusively.The 1964 Miss. Freedom Summer Protests Won Progress At a Bloody Price|Nicolaus Mills|June 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The first cat on the catwalk (sorry, we had to) was Vengeance, a 12-week-old Sphinx in an argyle sweater.
Next out was Madeline, a one-and-a-half year old Sphinx in a frilly pink ballerina outfit.
Sphinx cats (think Mr. Bigglesworth) are apparently more likely to tolerate clothing, as they are naturally fur-less.
Betty smiles so rarely on Mad Men that when she does it holds special importance, akin to a sphinx letting her guard down.
What would he say, we wondered, could he see the crowds of tourists tearing out to pay him a call, on their way to the Sphinx?It Happened in Egypt|C. N. Williamson
I propose an enigma; only I am not cruel like the Sphinx and will not devour you if you fail to guess.The Hero of the People|Alexandre Dumas
On hearing the reply the Sphinx dashed her head against a rock and expired.Human Animals|Frank Hamel
She was the spirit of the enigma, the very personification of the Napoleonic sphinx.The Missourian|Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
To-day there is no Sphinx to fear, yet the world is full of unguessed riddles.The Woodpeckers|Fannie Hardy Eckstorm
noun plural sphinxes or sphinges (ˈsfɪndʒiːz)
noun the Sphinx
Word Origin for Sphinx
early 15c., "monster of Greek mythology," from Latin Sphinx, from Greek Sphinx, literally" the strangler," a back-formation from sphingein "to squeeze, bind" (see sphincter).
Monster, having a lion's (winged) body and a woman's head, that waylaid travelers around Thebes and devoured those who could not answer its questions; Oedipus solved the riddle and the Sphinx killed herself. The proper plural would be sphinges. Transferred sense of "person or thing of mysterious nature" is from c.1600. In the Egyptian sense (usually male and wingless) it is attested from 1570s; specific reference to the colossal stone one near the pyramids as Giza is attested from 1610s.
In the story of Oedipus, a winged monster with the head of a woman and the body of a lion. It waylaid travelers on the roads near the city of Thebes and would kill any of them who could not answer this riddle: “What creatures walk on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?” Oedipus finally gave the correct answer: human beings, who go on all fours as infants, walk upright in maturity, and in old age rely on the “third leg” of a cane.
A great sculpture carved from the rock near the Egyptian pyramids in about 2500 b.c. It depicts a creature from Egyptian mythology with the head of a man and the body of a lion. (See under “Mythology and Folklore.”)