2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Sphinx \Sphinx\, noun [L., from Gr. sfi'gx, usually derived from sfi'ggein to bind tight or together, as if the Throttler.] 1. (a) In Egyptian art, an image of granite or porphyry, having a human head, or the head of a ram or of a hawk, upon the wingless body of a lion.

The awful ruins of the days of old . . . Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx. --Shelley. (b) On Greek art and mythology, a she-monster, usually represented as having the winged body of a lion, and the face and breast of a young woman.

Note: The most famous Grecian sphinx, that of Thebes in B[oe]otia, is said to have proposed a riddle to the Thebans, and killed those who were unable to guess it. The enigma was solved by [OE]dipus, whereupon the sphinx slew herself. "Subtle as sphinx." --Shak.

2. Hence: A person of enigmatical character and purposes, especially in politics and diplomacy.

3. (Zool.) Any one of numerous species of large moths of the family {Sphingidae}; -- called also {hawk moth}. See also {tomato worm}.

Note: The larva is a stout naked caterpillar which, when at rest, often assumes a position suggesting the Egyptian sphinx, whence the name.

4. (Zool.) The Guinea, or sphinx, baboon ({Cynocephalus sphinx}).

{Sphinx baboon} (Zool.), a large West African baboon ({Cynocephalus sphinx}), often kept in menageries.

{Sphinx moth}. (Zool.) Same as {Sphinx}, 3.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:



1: an inscrutable person who keeps his thoughts and intentions secret

2: (Greek mythology) a riddling winged monster with a woman's head and breast on a lion's body; daughter of Typhon

3: one of a number of large stone statues with the body of a lion and the head of a man that were built by the ancient Egyptians

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Friday, March 27, 2015 10:15:50 AM Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)