Definition of sphinx in English:

sphinx

noun

  • 1Greek Mythology
    A winged monster of Thebes, having a woman's head and a lion's body. It propounded a riddle about the three ages of man, killing those who failed to solve it, until Oedipus was successful, whereupon the Sphinx committed suicide.

    1. 1.1the Sphinx An ancient Egyptian stone figure having a lion's body and a human or animal head, especially the huge statue near the Pyramids at Giza.
      • ‘When the sphinx was crumbling they finally repaired it in plaster, which needs replacing every five years, in order to maintain the point of decay, and clarify the difference.’
      • ‘The building with the sphinx and obelisks in the center housed Akoun's Beautiful Orient with its bazaar offering wares from the Middle East.’
      • ‘They were going to see the sphinx and come back with souvenirs.’
    2. 1.2 An enigmatic or inscrutable person.
      • ‘The shy, introverted Gandhi, once described as a sphinx and an enigma, has come a long way in the past six years.’
  • 2

    another term for hawk moth

Origin

Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek Sphinx, apparently from sphingein ‘draw tight’.

Pronunciation

sphinx

/sfɪŋks//sfiNGks/