Definition of phenom in US English:



North American
  • A person who is outstandingly talented or admired, especially an up-and-comer.

    • ‘While every U.S. Olympic squad has featured a mixture of high school phenoms and post-graduate talent, collegians have long been a major factor-usually the major factor-in the equation.’
    • ‘Azinger, then 37 and in his 16th year on tour, saw in the 21-year-old rookie the quality of mind that separates phenoms from prodigies.’
    • ‘Darnell emphasized that no formal overtures have been made, but the show is likely to target faded stars along the lines of such 1980s teen phenoms as Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.’
    • ‘In a 1994 book, Inside the Tour de France, Walsh included a sympathetic portrait of a young phenom from Texas named Lance Armstrong.’
    • ‘Actually more than a good kid; he's a bit of a phenom.’


Late 19th century: abbreviation of phenomenon.