Sphinx

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.
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The awful ruins of the days of old . . .
Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx.
Shelley.
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(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. The most famous Grecian sphinx, that of Thebes in Botia, is said to have proposed a riddle to the Thebans, and killed those who were unable to guess it. The enigma was solved by dipus, whereupon the sphinx slew herself. "Subtle as sphinx." Shak.
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2. Hence: A person of enigmatical character and purposes, especially in politics and diplomacy.
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3. (Zol.) Any one of numerous species of large moths of the family Sphingid; -- called also hawk moth. See also tomato worm.
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The larva is a stout naked caterpillar which, when at rest, often assumes a position suggesting the Egyptian sphinx, whence the name.
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4. (Zol.) The Guinea, or sphinx, baboon (Cynocephalus sphinx).
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Sphinx baboon (Zol.), a large West African baboon (Cynocephalus sphinx), often kept in menageries. -- Sphinx moth. (Zol.) Same as Sphinx, 3.
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Sat 15th December 2018