Old English and Old French fenix, from Medieval Latin phenix, from Latin phoenix, from Greek phoinix, the mythical bird of Arabia which flew to Egypt every 500 years to be reborn; it also meant "the date" (fruit and tree), and "Phoenician," literally "purple-red," perhaps a foreign word (Egyptian has been suggested), or from phoinos "blood-red." The exact relation and order of the senses in Greek is unclear.
Ðone wudu weardaþ wundrum fæger
fugel feþrum se is fenix hatan
Spelling assimilated to Greek 16c. (see ph). Figurative sense of "that which rises from the ashes of what was destroyed" is attested from 1590s. The constellation was one of the 11 added to Ptolemy's list in the 1610s by Flemish cartographer Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) after Europeans began to explore the Southern Hemisphere. The city in Arizona, U.S., so called because it was founded in 1867 on the site of an ancient Native American settlement.
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