Phoenix (mythology)

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phoenix (in classical mythology) a unique bird, resembling an eagle but with rich red and gold plumage, that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert (it is also known as the Arabian bird), after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre ignited by the sun and fanned by its own wings, and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.

A variation of the myth stated that the phoenix burnt itself on the altar of the temple of Helios (the Sun) at Heliopolis (Egypt), and that a worm emerged from the ashes and became the young phoenix.
phoenix company a derogatory term for an insolvent company which is placed into voluntary liquidation by its directors, trading being resumed soon afterwards under a different company name. The usage is recorded from the early 1990s.
Phoenix Park Murders the murder in Phoenix Park, Dublin, with surgical knives, of the newly arrived Irish chief secretary, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and under-secretary T. H. Burke, by Irish Invincibles in 1882.

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The phoenix is a legendary bird mentioned in Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. According to ancient writers, the phoenix lived for 500 years, then died and was reborn. It had brilliant golden and scarlet feathers and grew to the size of an eagle.

Just before dying, the phoenix built a nest of fragrant herbs and spices, including cinnamon and myrrh. Then it set the nest on fire and died in the flames. However, a new phoenix rose from the ashes. When the young bird was strong enough, it placed the ashes of the dead phoenix in an egg made of myrrh. Then the young phoenix carried the egg to Heliopolis, the Egyptian city of the sun, and placed it on the altar of the sun god Ra (Re).

immortality ability to live forever

resurrection coming to life again; rising from the dead

The phoenix was associated with immortality and eternal rebirth in Egypt, and the Romans used it on coins to symbolize Rome, the Eternal City. Early Christians saw the phoenix as a symbol of resurrection. The bird also appears as a sacred figure in both Chinese and Japanese mythology.

See also Birds in Mythology.

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phoe·nix / ˈfēniks/ • n. (in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle. ∎  a person or thing regarded as uniquely remarkable in some respect. PHRASES: rise like a phoenix from the ashes emerge renewed after apparent disaster or destruction.

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phoenix Mythological eagle-like bird linked with Sun- worship, especially in ancient Egypt. Of gold and scarlet plumage, only one phoenix could exist at a time, usually with a life span of c.500 years. When death approached, the phoenix built a nest of aromatic plant material and was then consumed by fire. From the ashes of the pyre rose a new phoenix.

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Phoenix. A mythical bird of great splendour, which after a long life was said to burn itself to ashes and then rise to life again. It was regarded by Christian writers, and occasionally by Christian artists, as a symbol of the resurrection.

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phoenix mythical bird of gorgeous plumage living for centuries in the Arabian desert, then burning itself to ashes, from which it emerged with renewed youth. OE., ME. fenix — L. phœnix and OF. fenix (mod. phénix), the L. being — Gr. phoînix, of unkn. orig.