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A.Word.A.Day--sphinx

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: words derived from the names of mythical creatures.

sphinx (sfingks) 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.

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"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.

X-Bonus

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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