Definitions for: Sphinx


[n] 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
[n] (Greek mythology) a riddling winged monster with a woman's head and breast on a lion's body; daughter of Typhon
[n] an inscrutable person who keeps his thoughts and intentions secret



Webster (1913) Definition: Sphinx, n. [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. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of large moths of
the family Sphingid[ae]; -- called also hawk moth.

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

4. (Zo["o]l.) The Guinea, or sphinx, baboon ({Cynocephalus
sphinx}).

Sphinx baboon (Zo["o]l.), a large West African baboon
(Cynocephalus sphinx), often kept in menageries.

Sphinx moth. (Zo["o]l.) Same as Sphinx, 3.

See Also: human, individual, mortal, mythical creature, mythical monster, person, somebody, someone, soul, statue

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