from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Mythology A bird in Egyptian mythology that lived in the desert for 500 years and then consumed itself by fire, later to rise renewed from its ashes.
- n. A person or thing of unsurpassed excellence or beauty; a paragon.
- n. A constellation in the Southern Hemisphere near Tucana and Sculptor.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A mythological bird, said to be the only one of its kind, which lives for 500 years and then dies by burning to ashes on a pyre of its own making, ignited by the sun. It then arises anew from the ashes.
- n. Anything that is reborn after apparently being destroyed. Usually used as a simile.
Middle English fenix, from Old English from Old French, both from Medieval Latin fēnix, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin phoenīx, from Ancient Greek φοῖνιξ (phoĩnix), from Egyptian bnw (boinu, "grey heron"). The grey heron was venerated at Heliopolis and associated in Egypt with the cyclical renewal of life because the bird rises in flight at dawn and migrates back every year in the flood season to inhabit the Nile waters. (Wiktionary)