Definition of phoenix noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈfiːnɪks//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈfiːnɪks//
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(in stories) a magic bird that lives for several hundred years before burning itself and then being born again from its ashes to rise like a phoenix from the ashes (= to be powerful or successful again) Word Originfrom 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 centres 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).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: phoenix

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