from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Botany A capsule dehiscing transversely by a lid that falls off to release the seeds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small box
  • n. : A capsule in which the lid separates from the top of the fruit; a pyxidium
  • n. A nautical compass

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A box; a pyx.
  • n. A pyxidium.
  • n. The acetabulum. See Acetabulum, 2.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Greek antiquity and archaeology, a type of cylindrical vase or box with a cover, used especially by women, as for the toilet. See cut in preceding column.
  • n. A box; a jewel-case.
  • n. In anatomy, the cotyloid cavity, or acetabulum of the hip-joint.
  • n. [capitalized] A genus of brachiopods
  • n. [capitalized] In conchology, a genus of gastropods.
  • n. [capitalized] A genus of land-tortoises of the family Testudinidæ, having the anterior part of the plastron so movable that it can be shut like the lid of a pyxis.
  • n. A tortoise of this genus, the only known species, Pyxis arachnoidea, of Madagascar and Mauritius. Its shell is yellow, with broad black bands radiating from the center of the dorsal shields.
  • n. [capitalized] In entomology, a genus of coleopterous insects.
  • n. In botany: A seed-vessel, commonly a capsule, with a circumscissile dehiscence, the top falling away like a lid, as in the common purslane and plantain, and in the fruit known as monkey-pots. See Lecythis, and cut under circumscissile.
  • n. The theca of mosses. Also pyxidium.
  • n. In old arms and armor, an engine-of-war: probably the same as culverin, the early form of cannon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fruit of such plants as the plantain; a capsule whose upper part falls off when the seeds are released
  • n. a small box used by ancient Greeks to hold medicines
  • n. a constellation in the southern hemisphere near Puppis and Antlia


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin pyxis, box, from Greek puxis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin pyxis ("small box").


  • Ear-rings in various shapes, necklaces in numerous rows, bracelets in the forms of hoops or snakes for the upper and lower arms, and various other trinkets v. 'ere in great request, and were kept in a species of casket or box, called pyxis, from the name of the wood of which it was orignaliy made; and these caskets, as Avell as the small oval hand mirrors of metal,

    Costume of the ancients

  • Ranging in size from two to ten centimeters, the pieces include an ivory furniture plaque, a gold ring, a red jasper stamp seal, and the flat lid of a pyxis, or small box — from Anatolia, Mycenae, Vapheio, and Byblos, respectively.

    The Art of Foreign Influence

  • In the museum we have a pyxis that was once a container for the Eucharist and stored in a church treasury.

    Why Should We Care?

  • The word pyx (Lat., pyxis, which transliterates the Greek, pyxis, box-wood receptacle, from pyxos, box-tree) was formerly applied in a wide and general sense to all vessels used to contain the Blessed

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

  • Even the names by which they were known (capsa, capsella, theca, pyxis, arca etc.) are quite general in character, and it seems certain that the same names also designated receptacles for the Blessed Eucharist, the holy oils, and other pious objects.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

  • Vaphio cups, found in a _tholos_ chamber-tomb near Amyclae, the men are "long-haired Achaeans," with heavy, pendent locks, like the man on a pyxis from Knossos, published by Mr. Evans; they are of another period than the close-cropped men of the vase and dagger.

    Homer and His Age

  • If Homer does not know small circular shields, but refers always to huge shields, whereas, from the eighth century B.C. onwards, such shields were not in use (disregarding Tyrtaeus, and the vase of Aristonothos on which they appear conspicuously, and the Dodwell pyxis), where are we?

    Homer and His Age

  • Dodwell pyxis of 650 to 620 B.C., a man wears an oval shield, covering him from the base of the neck to the ankles.

    Homer and His Age

  • In one -- the pyxis -- the plastron is furnished with a transverse hinge, so that the animal can retract its head and fore-limbs within the carapace, and close the plastron upon it, first shutting them in.

    The Western World Picturesque Sketches of Nature and Natural History in North and South America

  • "They form a pyxis," she explained, a jewel box that's a "little like a castle turret."

    The Seattle Times


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  • The traffic cop/cones, like all other civil servants in Iceland, are on a go-slow till the bankrupt government figures out how to pay them. They are moonlighting as moden art sculptures at vernissages.

    December 27, 2008

  • Aren't pyxis, like, traffic gnomes in Reykjavik or something?

    December 26, 2008

  • Oh, I get it.

    *grin* That is funny!

    December 26, 2008

  • Wikipedia says:

    A pyxis (plural pyxides) is a type of Greek pottery used by women to hold cosmetics, trinkets or jewellery.

    December 26, 2008

  • Yes, absolutely. I wasn't making myself clear. A pyxis is a small and often beautifully decorated container, used primarily for cosmetics and perfumes: concentrated sticky non-edible things, i.e. unguents. But I heard an educated person (as opposed to all those illiterate drop-outs who discuss Greek pottery) refer to it as a container for ungulents, a non-existant word. Presumably this person had the word for hoofed mammals echoing in his brain, and it came out more like that than anything else. It amused me.

    December 26, 2008

  • *thinks hard*

    Possibly unguent?

    December 25, 2008

  • Too funny. I swear I just heard this referred to as a container for ungulents. Presumably a mishearing of ungulate.

    December 25, 2008

  • Too funny. I swear I just heard this referred to as a container for ungulents.

    December 25, 2008

  • In addition to the WordNet definition: a lidded cosmetic or jewelry box.

    November 9, 2007