hawk moth
Sphinx Sphinx, n. [L., from Gr. sfi`gx, usually derived from sfi`ggein to bind tight or together, as if the Throttler.] 1. (a) In Egyptian art, an image of granite or porphyry, having a human head, or the head of a ram or of a hawk, upon the wingless body of a lion. [1913 Webster]

The awful ruins of the days of old . . . Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx. --Shelley. [1913 Webster] (b) On Greek art and mythology, a she-monster, usually represented as having the winged body of a lion, and the face and breast of a young woman.

Note: The most famous Grecian sphinx, that of Thebes in B[oe]otia, is said to have proposed a riddle to the Thebans, and killed those who were unable to guess it. The enigma was solved by [OE]dipus, whereupon the sphinx slew herself. ``Subtle as sphinx.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Hence: A person of enigmatical character and purposes, especially in politics and diplomacy. [1913 Webster]

3. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of large moths of the family {Sphingid[ae]}; -- called also {hawk moth}. See also {tomato worm}. [1913 Webster]

Note: The larva is a stout naked caterpillar which, when at rest, often assumes a position suggesting the Egyptian sphinx, whence the name. [1913 Webster]

4. (Zo["o]l.) The Guinea, or sphinx, baboon ({Cynocephalus sphinx}). [1913 Webster]

{Sphinx baboon} (Zo["o]l.), a large West African baboon ({Cynocephalus sphinx}), often kept in menageries.

{Sphinx moth}. (Zo["o]l.) Same as {Sphinx}, 3. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hawk moth — (m[o^]th ; 115). (Zo[ o]l.) Any moth of the family {Sphingid[ae]}, of which there are numerous genera and species. They are large, handsome moths with long narrow forewings capable of powerful flight and hovering over flowers to feed. They fly… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hawk moth — Hawk Hawk (h[add]k), n. [OE. hauk (prob. fr. Icel.), havek, AS. hafoc, heafoc; akin to D. havik, OHG. habuh, G. habicht, Icel. haukr, Sw. h[ o]k, Dan. h[ o]g, prob. from the root of E. heave.] (Zo[ o]l.) One of numerous species and genera of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hawk moth — hawk′ moth n. ent any of numerous moths of the family Sphingidae, noted for their swift flight and ability to hover while sipping nectar from flowers Also called sphingid,sphinx moth • Etymology: 1775–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • hawk moth — n. any of a family (Sphingidae) of moths with a thick, tapering body, slender wings, and a long feeding tube used for sucking the nectar of flowers; sphinx moth …   English World dictionary

  • hawk moth — noun any of various moths with long narrow forewings capable of powerful flight and hovering over flowers to feed • Syn: ↑hawkmoth, ↑sphingid, ↑sphinx moth, ↑hummingbird moth • Hypernyms: ↑moth • Hyponyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • hawk moth — any of numerous moths of the family Sphingidae, noted for their very swift flight and ability to hover while sipping nectar from flowers. Also called sphingid, sphinx moth, hummingbird moth. [1775 85] * * * or sphinx moth Any moth of the… …   Universalium

  • hawk moth — noun Any moth of the family Sphingidae. Syn: hornworm, sphinx moth …   Wiktionary

  • hawk-moth — n. Death s head moth …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • hawk moth — noun Date: 1785 any of a family (Sphingidae) of stout bodied moths with a long proboscis, long narrow more or less pointed forewings, and small hind wings called also sphinx …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hawk-moth — …   Useful english dictionary

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