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Meaning of sphinx

sphinx

Pronunciation: (sfingks), [key]
— pl. sphinx•es, sphin•ges
  1. (in ancient Egypt)
    1. a figure of an imaginary creature having the head of a man or an animal and the body of a lion.
    2. (usually cap.) the colossal recumbent stone figure of this kind near the pyramids of Giza.
  2. (cap.)a monster, usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle. Seated on a rock outside of Thebes, she proposed a riddle to travelers, killing them when they answered incorrectly, as all did before Oedipus. When he answered her riddle correctly the Sphinx killed herself.
  3. any similar monster.
  4. a mysterious, inscrutable person or thing, esp. one given to enigmatic questions or answers.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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