One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.
- ‘Unicorns, elves, leprechauns, phoenixes, griffins, and humans all existed very peacefully together on Earth, until evil was set loose.’
- ‘A phoenix is a bird that rises from the ashes of its deceased predecessor.’
- ‘Like the mythical phoenix, which arose in its own ashes, the ram was chosen as a natural symbol of resurrection because of its ability, when shorn, to replenish its stock of wool.’
- ‘The award is named in recognition of the mythological phoenix, a bird that lived five centuries, died and was reborn from its own ashes.’
- ‘The phoenix was a mythical bird of ancient Egypt which reputedly burned every 500 years and rose rejuvenated from its ashes.’
- 1.1 A person or thing regarded as uniquely remarkable in some respect.
- ‘It would be wonderful if city planning in Sofia could strike out on a unique, radical path creating a phoenix of a capital suitable for third millennium urban living.’
- ‘He is a phoenix rising from mediocrity, an actor in perpetual renaissance.’
rise like a phoenix from the ashes
Emerge renewed after apparent disaster or destruction.
- ‘It is with more than a hint of nostalgia for past triumphs as well as with a proud and hopeful gaze at a luminous future that the Bolshoi Ballet is rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Soviet empire.’
- ‘We can learn to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, arising as part of a better world and a better life for one and all.’
- ‘But his legacy remains and the 80s saw rock music rising like a phoenix from the ashes.’
- ‘Manchester United rose like a phoenix from the ashes, and have never been out of the top two divisions of the English League ever since, winning their first League title in 1908.’
- ‘There I was describing Duncan as a failure in Finland, and thousands of miles away at Everton he rises like a phoenix from the ashes to score against Manchester United.’
- ‘But most cones wait patiently for a fire before they open, drop their seeds, and rise like a phoenix from the ashes.’
- ‘Working with the RDA we can help Drake Street rise like a phoenix from the ashes.’
- ‘But if we look to the future with everything that is going on we can see the city rising like a phoenix from the ashes.’
- ‘Shot in Budapest, standing in for Munich, 1918, the film has a dark, post-Apocalyptic feel to it, with a vibrant artistic life, rising like a phoenix from the ashes of defeat.’
- ‘It would be comforting to think that this city, despite its lapse into the present slough of despond and cultural wilderness, may yet rise like a phoenix from the ashes.’
From Old French fenix, via Latin from Greek phoinix ‘Phoenician, reddish purple, or phoenix’. The relationship between the Greek senses is obscure: it could not be ‘the Phoenician bird’ because the legend centers on the temple at Heliopolis in Egypt, where the phoenix is said to have burnt itself on the altar. Perhaps the basic sense is ‘purple’, symbolic of fire and possibly the primary sense of Phoenicia as the purple land (or land of the sunrise).
1A southern constellation (the Phoenix), west of Grus.
- 1.1as genitive Phoenicis /fiˈnēsis, -ˈnī-/ Used with preceding letter or numeral to designate a star in the constellation Phoenix.‘the star Delta Phoenicis’
- 1.1as genitive Phoenicis /fiˈnēsis, -ˈnī-/ Used with preceding letter or numeral to designate a star in the constellation Phoenix.
The capital of Arizona; population 1,567,924 (est. 2008). Its warm dry climate makes it a popular winter resort.
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