1. pl. sphinx·es or sphin·ges (sfĭnjēz′)
a. Mythology A figure in Egyptian myth having the body of a lion and the head of a man, ram, or hawk.
b. often Sphinx Greek Mythology A winged creature having the head of a woman and the body of a lion, noted for killing those who could not answer its riddle.
2. pl. sphinxes A puzzling or mysterious person.
3. pl. sphinxes also sphinx Variant of sphynx.
[Middle English Spynx, from Latin Sphinx, from Greek.]
(click for a larger image)sphinx
detail of an early 5th-century bc black-figure lekythos showing Oedipus and the Sphinx
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