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May 1, 2008
This week's theme
Words derived from the names of mythical creatures

This week's words
chimera
argus
centaur
sphinx
harpy
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

sphinx

(sfingks) Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

noun: A mysterious, inscrutable person.

After Sphinx, a winged monster in Greek mythology who had a woman's head and a lion's body. It killed anyone who was not able to answer its riddle. From Greek sphinx (literally, strangler), from sphingein (to bind tight), also the source of the word sphincter.

See more usage examples of sphinx in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"Deborah Jeane Palfrey is unreadable, a sphinx, she covers her mouth when she whispers to her attorney to shield against lip readers."
Monica Hesse; A Slash Of Scarlet in A Gray Court; Washington Post; Apr 11, 2008.

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Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before. -Steven Wright, comedian (b. 1955)

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